Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Future According to Woody Allen

Few pictures are really as delightful as this one. Woody Allen infuses it with wit, humor, and glorious amounts of classic slapstick, and gets away with what appears to not be a very serious film. And yet, through his unique brand of comedy, built on the shoulders of past greats, he manages to skewer everything from politics to the future. Unflinchingly mocking sci-fi type utopias and dystopias at will, Allen fittingly displays what could be considered his own philosophy and unleashes comedic chaos.

Aside from many a marvelously zippy one-liner and sharp, biting dialogue, the film is built around rather elaborate sketches. Moments like Allen’s clumsy escape attempts, masquerading as a futuristic slave robot, and his bemusement and bewilderment at the controlled madness of the future are all very hilarious, and well executed. The jokes never get stale or old, and Allen is helped by his usual chemistry with the pretty and talented Diane Keaton, who has always had a knack for comedy that I feel is somewhat understated.

Although lacking the emotional and dramatic pathos of say, Annie Hall, Sleeper is still a great comedy/spoof. It’s a film made in the same madcap and fine tradition of comedy masters such as Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers (there’s a fitting homage to the mirror gag from Duck Soup in here), and of course Charlie Chaplin. Allen has of course long since been added to that illustrious list. 97

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