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Monday, January 16, 2006

MATCH POINT



The film Match Point is a movie of many layers.

On one level it's a movie about a man climbing the ladder of success.....about overcoming obstacles. On another level the movie is a touching love story. On yet ANOTHER level it's a story of betrayal.....and infidelity. It's also a movie about choices....wrong and right.....the nature and unpredictability of luck. The movie is also a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.....a movie about regret. It's also a movie about living with the consequences of one's action......about morality and guilt.

Whatever people take out of the film one thing is certain.....

This is a great movie.

Johnathon Rhys-Meyers plays Chris, a former tennis pro who uses his passive aggressive nature to work his way into a relationship with Chloe Wilton a lady from a prestigious British family. Problems arise when Chris starts having feelings for Scarlett Johansson...who happens to be engaged to Chloe's brother.

A lot of critics are calling this movie a return to form for Woody Allen. But I get the sense that the movie is more of a change of pace for Woody Allen. A welcome chance to spread his wings. Perhaps it's because the movie is not a comedy, or that the film features a young cast, but most of all, the movie feels different than any other Woody Allen film because it doesn't feature his most consistent and prevalent character in all of his movies......the city of New York.
Match Point is filmed entirely in London and features, with the exception of Scarlett Johansson, an entirely British cast.

That's not to say that this isn't a Woody Allen film.

I was surprised to find how much humor the movie has. It's not however, sitcom, punchline, humor. A lot of it is ironic, circumstantial, and dark, but it's still humor. To call the movie a straight drama or thriller would be doing the movie a disservice. Like I mentioned earlier the film has many layers.

The movie also features many of Woody Allen's trademarks. There's examinations of morality, overlapping, natural, dialogue, there's character observing close-ups, observations of class structure and sexual infidelity....even moments of the surreal when a character speaks to the dead.

The movie features solid performances from the entire cast. Especially Johnathon Rhys-Meyers in the central role. Emily Mortimer also turns in a impressive job in a thankless role as the nieve, sweet, well meaning wife of Chris. Brian Cox is also strong as the aloof father. The flashiest role is played by Scarlett Johansson and she delivers nicely.

But what's really on display is Woody Allen's amazing writing.

What makes the movie so impressive is that it's presented in such a thought provoking, simple manner.

It's a real testament to Woody Allen's brilliance as a writer. The script is tight, multi-dimensional, well paced and powerful.

The script should be featured in screen writing classes for future generations on how to write a well made movie.

Not that Woody Allen's direction is any less impressive. Allen uses Opera music throughout the film with powerful results. There's also amazing images and well executed moments of suspense and action. One of the most haunting moments in the movie, however, is the opening image of a tennis ball bouncing off the top of the net. Later on in the movie the image is hearkened back to with brilliant results. The idea is that in life there are moments of luck when events can push a person forward, or pushed back in life.

It's a powerful, ironic image, and can even be applied to Woody Allen himself, as he sort of took a risk with this movie. Audiences are hoping that this movie pushes Woody Allen forward to bigger and better things. However, it's hard to imagine how much better Woody Allen can get.

This movie is the pinnacle of his creative genius. A triumph on all accounts.

Make sure not to miss it.



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