Friday, May 12, 2006

MATCH POINT

Jonathan Rhys Meyers Match Point Movie Directed by Woody Allen
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

Unfortunate Thumbs Down

AN UNFORTUNATE THUMBS DOWN!

Some reviewers and movie-goers have been stunned by the transformation of Woody Allen as a director because of this film, and there’s no doubt that this is a step in the right direction. His horrible, horrible, horrible film THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION completely turned me off (not to mention some of his less-than-appropriate personal behavior …but that’s another story). Woody had trouble seeing himself as an older guy in many of his more recent releases and seriously miscast himself in roles that were never intended for a short, balding, and aging man.

Thankfully, here in MATCH POINT, Woody’s balding pate never makes an appearance. He’s planted firmly behind the camera as director, and this is a very good thing (but not a great one).

I will give Woody Allen credit; he’s gone off his previously overly beaten path and is branching out into realms unknown to him. Match Point is a case in point (no pun intended). Here we have a young tennis pro stud named Chris Wilton (
Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who comes to London from Ireland in pursuit of a better life. He meets up with a nice, wealthy young man named Tom and is quickly introduced to his sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer). A relationship starts to build but not before Chris runs into Tom’s fiancé, Nola (Scarlett Johansson), a blond bombshell who’s ready to ignite anything near her. Chris marries Chloe but not before having “an encounter” with Nola, setting the stage for a relationship nightmare in the future. Tom breaks up with Nola, thus allowing Chris more access to her, but when pregnancies, family fortunes, and the future of everything Chris has been working for comes to a head, he has to make a choice; a terrible and wrong …but lucky choice.

I don’t want to give too much away here in case some of you decide to watch the flick. If you’ve seen it already, let me say that I don’t agree with Chris’ choice (obviously) but one can see why a man (or woman) could be driven to do such a horrendous thing.

I’m gauging this film based on other movies, not just other Woody Allen movies – thus my “thumbs down” rating. Although this is a giant leap in the right direction for Mr. Allen, it still held a narcoleptic pace. The acting was okay, nothing extraordinary, but nothing to jump up and down about either. The sets …eh. Nothing great there either. The dialogue was okay but sometimes felt forced and speedy. When Chris first meets Nola over a ping-pong table, their actions and emotions feel rushed.

Match Point has been compared, in theme, to Hitchcock. I beg to differ. Woody isn’t that good, but perhaps with a little time he’ll get there.

Click here to watch the Match Point movie trailer.

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