You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
If you can get past its bone-deep cynicism, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (2010) is not half as terrible as it is made out to be. For those like me who’ve actually cared to follow Allen’s career in the noughts (or his career, in general), the message of Stranger shouldn’t come as a big surprise: The world is nondeterministic, completely random and morally neutral and those of us who’re lucky enough to have been caught in the right currents live happily, As for the less fortunate, we can always trick ourselves into believing that we are all special in our own way and we actually matter – in this life or the next. Or whatever else works. Given this unbridled pessimism, it is something of an achievement that Stranger is one of the most lighthearted films of the year. Of all his recent works, it is here that Allen makes the best use of voiceover. Where storytellers like Inarittu abstain from voice over to heighten the sense of haphazardness and unpredictability of the universe, Allen employs it to obtain a godlike ironic distance from the equally haphazard and unpredictable transactions. Allen keeps divorcing morality of actions from their consequences in such a systematic manner that even immorality is deemed pointless and left at the mercy of Lady Luck. With an effortless control over his expansive canvas of characters, he plays out every combination of attitudes and situations possible, all of which, as expected, dovetail into meaninglessness. (The film’s almost like a treatise on atoms and their various bonds. Someone even mentions Heisenberg). Stranger is additionally a meditation on spaces – private and pubic – and realms – art and reality – and the way their internal tensions influence the relationships between the people inhabiting them, as is underscored by the adept cinematography, editing and blocking. But then, what’s the point of it all?