THE PLOT THUS FAR
More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job: preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright s digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in The Congress convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“The Congress” is a film about using technology to defeat aging. But, you’re defeating aging in the superficial sense by giving up your likeness. Robin Wright plays an actress that has made many terrible choices. Now, she’s aging and divorced with two children in tow. She takes an offer from a major studio to have her likeness and attributes scanned into a system that will allow her to be CG recreated into many films for decades. Basically, she’s going to guarantee her future career by becoming a Pixar character. The computers will do the work, as she gets to sit back and collect the checks.
Stanislaw Lem envisioned the tale upon which the film is based as yet another Dystopian future. Robin Wright deals with asshole studio executives and animated chemical inhalants like it’s going out of style. All the while, the choices in the destruction of Wright begins with her. It’s weird to see a central character be that in charge of their demise in a tale like this. I mean, if you knew that you had an easy way out by way of chemical mutilation…would you take it?
I love how this has been a great year for inventive Science Fiction. I’ve been loving everything from indie cinema to comics to that GE commercial with the kid that makes noises when he talks. Playing with narrative conceit to take Sci-Fi out of space opera and into the modern day is ingenious. It’s something that American fiction has lost since the days of Rod Serling. Robin Wright won’t pull down awards for this role, but what she does here will be talked about among film scholars for some time to come. This might be the first true acknowledgement of humanity bowing to the ease of digital performance.
The Blu-Ray comes with a commentary track, interview, trailer, promo spot and a digital download as the special features. The A/V Quality is on par with past Drafthouse Films releases. The 1080p transfer really pops. The same goes for the DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 12/02/2014