[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Atlanta Film Festival. The Congress opens today in limited release.]
Ari Folman‘s The Congress is a trip in more ways than one. Its visuals are lush and its ideas are rich. Like Folman’s previous film, Waltz with Bashir, the writer-director isn’t using animation only as visual expression, but also bolsters the themes by using the form in the first place. The filmmaker carefully builds his movie like a house of cards by trying to use the acting profession as a spring board and then expanding it to an exploration of self-definition, dreams, hallucinations, and detachment from reality. The film can be so head-spinning that it’s possible to get dizzy and lose focus, but when The Congress is on point, it’s as fascinating as it is gorgeous.