The Congress

The Congress: Directed by Ari Folman. With Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Sami Gayle, Jon Hamm. An aging, out-of-work actress accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider.

Release in 2013 well before her resurgance in amazing roles like House of Cards, Blade Runner 2042, or Wonder Woman, this movie has Robin Wright playing a nearly has been actress that’s in need of income an out of options, so signs over her digital likeness to Miramax. I’ve seen this before in a couple other things, the first that comes to mind is a Pamela Anderson short, though I’m not sure if I’m remembering that correctly. Regardless, the idea isn’t a new one, but what they do with it here in “The Congress” is mind bogglingly well done, the first half of the movie is her coming to terms with the decision that’s to be made, then the second half is the repercussions of the decision and the time period immediately after it. This is a nearly 10 year old film so I think I’m ok with spoiling it a little, so if you want to stop here, here’s some spoilers for you:

The second half is animated, and not in a “oh they animated this for a minute” kind of way, but it’s some of the best animation I’ve ever seen with some bonkers intentions behind what they’re showing (or not showing intentionally). I went in expecting a film about actor digitalization and what I got instead was an emotional gut punch with extreme science fiction concepts being looked at with the the kind of intensity that normally doesn’t make it to Hollywood, or if they do make it they get watered down and filtered to something more marketable.

A fun note, the corporation in the film goes from Miramax in the first half to “Miramount”, a portmanteau of Miaramax and Paramount, which actually sorta ended up being prediction from 2013 that became true when Paramount acquired a 49% stake in Miramax for at least $375 million in 2019, somewhat after all the unfortunate bullshit from main guy at Miramax came to light.

If you’re ok with heavy science fiction concepts and want to see animation that will flip your mind, this is it.

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