the fresh films reviews

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Match Point (2005)

Woody Allen
Match Point
124 minutes
Letty Aronson
Lucy Darwin
Gareth Wiley
Woody Allen

Cast includes:

Chris Wilton Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Nola Rice Scarlett Johansson
Chloe Emily Mortimer
Tom Hewett Matthew Goode
Alex Hewett Brian Cox
Eleanor Hewett Penelope WIlton
Inspector Dowd Ewen Bremner



At last, Woody Allen has let go of the neurotic, worn comedy formula that he has been clinging on to with limited but repeated success for the past decade. Match Point is absolutely the right note to hit for him, and it's a joy to see him work his magic with the pen (which is where I believe Allen has the most talent). Still though, Match Point is a split experience.

The biggest problem is that with Allen being 70 years old and American, the dialogue between posh, British 20-somethings sounds extremely phoney and stilted here - especially in the first act, when the film suffers from it. And what with the Irish background of our protagonist? I would think that both Irish and Londoners have reason to feel upset. It is always risky to write milieus that you know little about - which helps explain why Allen has set almost 30 movies in New York. Thankfully, after a while, Allen's script and the drive of the film overtakes the attention, overshadowing the at times shallow and one-dimensional upper class settings and Jonathan Rhys Meyers' questionable acting. Looking good and trying to impersonate Jude Law won't do - especially not in a role as rich as this. With more talent and creativity, Rhys Meyers could have made this into Oscar-potential, because Allen gives him so much to act off of.

The elegance and classical staging that follows, however, is simply fine filmmaking. In sorts, Allen continues where he left off with Crimes and Misdemeanors, but this time paying homage to the style of Hitchcock. When the plot is at its best and Allen is at his most inspired, Match Point is truly magnificent (the twist at the end is pure genius). Of course, there are questions to be asked here that Allen ignores (for instance concerning the police work), but the film is suspenseful and intense, and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Something that hasn't been a habit with Woody Allen's films lately.

Copyright 7.8.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang