I was lucky enough to see this film at the Cannes Film Festival recently where it screened out of competition. Being a Woody Allen fan, I was just hoping the film would be OK and not a disaster like some of his most recent films. Boy, was I surprised! MATCH POINT is easily his best film since CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS and once of his best ever. In his first foray out of Manhattan and into London, you would have thought he had lived there all his life. This film is a masterpiece and is a sure bet to win critical acclaim and many awards. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a revelation and finally lands a <more>
role of a lifetime as a young man who enters the world of the wealthy elite and would do anything to stay there. Scarlett Johansson has never looked as sultry and sexy as she does here playing the cool femme fatale. The film is beautifully structured and the performances by all and sundry are exemplary. Emily Mortimer and Brian Cox stand out among the supporting cast. The film has so many layers and so many unexpected twists that this is obviously the work of a genius director in full flight.What can I say. The best way to see this film is without knowing too much about it as I did and you will come away from it declaring that Woody Allen is still alive and kicking and still able to make a masterpiece even after all these years.
A Noir with English accents. A modern, ancient tale with super stars of the future and a score of crackling vinyl original recordings of timeless arias. A sixtysomething filmmaker with the flair of an impertinent newcomer. A masterpiece. Engrossing, entertaining, elegant, wicked. The meeting between the splendorous Scarlett Johanssen and the breathtaking Jonathan Rhys-Meyers at the ping pong table is right out "A Place In The Sun" - Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift at the pool table - the feeling is James Cain and Patricia Highsmith but the result is unique, bold, enthralling. <more>
Allen's British dialogues are refreshingly startling and I don't intend to spoil the pleasure of its perverse surprises by hinting at any of them. Just let me say that if you love cinema, rush to see it.
The best Woody Allen movie in about 15 years. I would've said that a couple of months back about 'Melinda and Melinda' but this is a far better cry than Melinda and Melinda. Don't get me wrong, I think Melinda and Melinda is a good movie, but 'Match' is more fulfilling.Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Chris Wilton, a former tennis pro turned tennis teacher who is of Irish lower class. He is shocked to find out he got a job as a tennis instructor in a high class country club. There he meets Tom Hewett played by Matthew Goode in a very strong performance. What Rhys Meyers does <more>
is unbelievable, he showcases what he is really made of in this movie. Chris sounds like a simple person but what Rhys Meyers did was make him a person of complexity. From the moments of solitude when he's in the same room as his family, the way he grieves for what he's doing and what he is about to do is very convincing.Emily Mortimer plays Chloe Hewett Wilton, Chris' wife and Tom's sister. Also what Mortimer does is also outstanding, even though she isn't given much to make Chloe a person rather than a persona, Mortimer makes Chloe a person with ease. In my opinion, I think Emily Mortimer does a better job of playing her character than Kate Winslet would've done had she been attached. She has the right notes and chemistry with Jonathan Rhys Meyers to make their marriage and romance very believable, and what Mortimer does in the moments of denial and solitude she is given, she makes Chloe a complete person. This performance should make her a star.Scarlett Johansson gives, in my opinion, maybe her 2nd best performance in this movie. Johansson is OUTSTANDING as Nola Rice, a struggling actress. Johansson shows us her range to play this character, the epitome of tragic beauty, Johansson combines elements of sexuality, desire, nostalgia, in one being. Though this performance may not be as good as her performance in Lost in Translation, its still good enough to get her an Academy Award Nomination.Match Point starts off as a drama and works its way into being a very tense psychological thriller, and Woody Allen shows he is still in top form by trying something daring, and pulling it off. This movie is a silent masterpiece.
Clever, polished, stunner with a lot to say about morality and fidelity (by mstomaso)
Match Point just joined Brokeback Mountain and Cinderella Man in the top three films for me this year. Like Brokeback Mountain, however, it is almost impossible to write a reasonably intelligent review without writing a spoiler.I have been a hot and cold Woody Allen watcher, but was only a fan during his comedic phase. So, despite hearing from a few reliable sources that this is Woody's masterpiece, I was skeptical and went in with few expectations. I am glad. Approaching the movie this way allowed it to creep up on me. The NYC Jewish dialog is gone. The quirky sense of humor is nowhere <more>
to be found. the hypersensitivity is missing. Where's Woody? Well, he's in London, but the place and time, despite the opinions of some critics, are largely irrelevant in this film.There is only one line in this film that indicates its origin - it has something to do with 'intertwined neuroses' and nearly made me laugh. The first 3/4ths of this film is almost completely taken up with character development, but also contains all of the basics of the inexorable plot that truly unfolds near the end. The characters are all quite likable, and, if you're like me, you will yearn for a happy ending. Watch out! - you've just been hooked and Woody's about to reel you in! Match Point draws its audience in quietly and slowly at first, defining its territory as a smart, hip, and sophisticated character study early on in no way unexpected for Mr. Allen , but then it takes an irreversibly sinister turn as one man threatens to bring everybody we have grown to love and respect down with him. The performances and cinematography in this film are all-around the best I've seen this year. Allen uses a lot of very close-in face shots, and his cast handles it with ease, performing their parts with accuracy and no lack of passion. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Emily Mortimer, and Scarlett Johanssen are all excellent, and the rest of the cast lends excellent support. I found no fault in the pace or the plot - this is easily Woody's most plot-heavy film, and you can tell that he had a great time putting it together. The story line of Match Point is powerful, disturbing, and exceedingly clever. Philosophical folks will likely want to talk about it afterward. Some will find it frustrating and others will find it pretentious. Still others will point to Woody's own life and claim that this film is some form of perverse confession. Well, from my perspective, it is simply damn good story-telling.Highly recommended for adult audiences.
Match Point is a cool, classically elegant and concise film that addresses all of the big questions--love, morality, death, fate, chance--without ever seeming heavy or self-conscious. I've never seen a Woody Allen film to match it. As a matter of fact, I can't remember another film of late that I thought was quite this good. From the opening shot, the film draws you in and doesn't let up, moving from shot to shot with a fine sense of rhythm and a narrative drive that builds the viewer's curiosity through a series of unexpected switchbacks. Rhys-Meyers is superb as an ex- <more>
professional tennis player from a poor Irish background who has turned social climber. Too proud to accept a favor from his upper class friends without immediately offering to pay it back, he affects an interest in opera and Strindberg. The viewer at once sympathizes with him and winces as he strains to seem refined and self-assured. Allen has put together a superb cast of young actors who bring his near flawless script to life so convincingly that one almost immediately suspends disbelief and becomes absorbed in the story. The shots of London are luxuriant and spacious, never self-indulgent. Few films, novels, or plays manage to form such rich dramatic material out of characters' inner obstacles. A classic piece of drama that reaches toward the likes of Shakespeare and Dostoevksy, every facet--from structure to dialog to editing to sound--is brought off with panache. This is not only Allen at his best but an example of what the cinematic medium is capable of when properly exploited.
Ignore the UK paper reviews, this is terrific (by lauriemar)
What a throughly engrossing evening Woody Allen has provided. This film has been, by and large, poorly received by the British critics. I cannot understand why. Yes, it does have the strongest echoes of Crimes and Misdemeanours, but if a director/writer can't borrow from his own product, who can? This isn't funny Allen -- there are few laughs -- but it is an extremely intense and successful serious Allen.Does Allen's magic transfer to my home city? You bet it does; lovely locations; Notting Hill, the Tate Modern, the "Gherkin" in the City, all look great but are also <more>
entirely relevant. Many critics said he didn't have an ear for British dialogue. I simply don't hear that -- it may be a bit stagy at times, but the writing is spare, to the point, and literate. Few trans-Atlantic clunkers.Yes, there are some silly bits; bits where you wish any half-intelligent Englishman had watched the film and said "Wood, old son, this is cobblers". British detectives don't call themselves "Detective so-and-so". They might be Detective-Sergeant or whatever. The force that polices London is the Metropolitan Police, not the "London Police". Perhaps Allen didn't realise that his main copper, Ulster actor James Nesbitt, sounds a parody of the amusing roles he plays in some widely-seen British Yellow Pages adverts. Little things, so easy to iron out, that detract just a touch from credibility.Scarlett Johannsson -- what an actress, is she really only 20 or whatever? She packs huge power and stunning looks, if occasionally getting a trifle near Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Jonathan Rhys Myers does his forlorn sports coach bit, as from Bend It Like Beckham. The solidly Brit supporting cast is entirely believable, even if their effortlessly affluent lifestyle takes a bit of swallowing. Genuine surprises at the end. This is a thoroughly satisfying evening at the movies.
This film at first doesn't seem like a typical Woody Allen film but at the end you know it's one and why. While the story and theme is familiar, Mr Allen brings new perspective and avoids clichés. He goes to the themes he explored in "Crimes and Misdemeanors" but without the Ingmar Bergman homage. Instead it's more fun and exciting to watch. I guess the young hot cast and new location doesn't seem like the usual Woody Allen film, even though he used young hot talents before. This one belongs to his best films which is good news to his fans. The cast is excellent but <more>
the supporting cast outshines the leads somehow. Matthew Goode made a strong impression and sure to become a star in the near future. I'm glad Woody Allen changed locations and used some of the best British actors for a change. I guess people who will read this comment, will already know about the plot, so I will avoid it. I watched the film at Cannes where it was well received by critics and the audience.
engrossing tale of adultery and obsession (by Buddy-51)
In "Match Point," Woody Allen, caught in one of his more "serious" moods, takes a simple tale about marital infidelity and turns it into something complex and fascinating. Although he leaves a trail of clues implying that this is to be another of his homages to Fyodor Dostoevsky, the film really turns out to be Allen's own version of Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" albeit set in England, perhaps to throw us off the scent . The parallels between the two works are not perfect, of course - in fact they often seem to be intentionally inverted - but <more>
they are close enough to make us wonder if Allen did, indeed, do it all on purpose.Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays Chris Wilton, a down-on-his-luck social climber who marries into wealth but longs for the passion he finds with another woman. Chris is a professional tennis player who decides to leave the circuit when he realizes he hasn't the skill to compete with the real pros. Taking a job as an instructor at a posh, highly exclusive tennis club, Chris finds himself wining and dining with the rich and famous after one of his pupils, Tom Hewett, takes a liking to him and introduces Chris to his snooty but accepting family. Chris begins to date Tom's warmhearted sister, Chloe, but he is really smitten by an aspiring American actress, Nola, who just happens to be Tom's fiancé. Chris makes the mistake of marrying Chloe before Tom and Nola call off their engagement and go their separate ways. The fact that Nola is free but he is not doesn't deter Chris from pursing an affair with the woman who provides all the passion and excitement his loving but boring wife cannot. But Chris soon discovers that carrying on an affair can result in a life filled with secrecy, lies, guilt and self-loathing. And when the going gets to be just a bit too much for our hero to handle well, there's always that "final solution" lurking in the wings, as many an earlier adulterer has discovered to his everlasting regret."Match Point" starts off very slowly and seems at first as if it will be just another tale of adultery and unrequited love. Yet, Allen really knows how to draw us into Chris' predicament, so that, by about halfway into the film, we feel as enmeshed in his seemingly irreconcilable dilemma as he himself is. Torn between the wealth and position he has as Chloe's husband and the love he feels for the relatively impoverished Nola, Chris is frozen into a state of paralyzing indecisiveness, his every waking moment a tormenting hell of fear and gathering dread as he keeps waiting in breathless anticipation for that other shoe to drop. It isn't until the "other woman" becomes more of a burden than his clinging wife that Chris can finally launch into action. This turnabout in the screenplay might strike many in the audience as arbitrary and implausible and there is certainly a case to be made for that. But if you can go with the flow, you will be delighted by all the little ironies Allen throws at us in the final stages of the story, which help to underline the filmmaker's thesis that, for all the efforts we make to control our lives, The Fickle Finger of Fate - or in this case a tennis ball precariously balancing on the top of a net trying to figure out which way to fall - always has the final word.Allen has written dialogue that is incisive, intelligent and literate, and the performances he's drawn from the likes of Rhys-Meyers, Goode, Emily Mortimer, Scarlett Johannson and Penelope Wilton are superb down to the tiniest detail. Allen keeps his camera tightly focused on his characters, rarely pulling away from them much beyond a middle distance, keeping us firmly locked in the near-claustrophobic drama. Here is a movie that demands patience at the beginning but that really sneaks up on you the longer you watch it.Guided by the hands of a master, "Match Point" is one of Allen's finest films in years.
Having avoided Woody Allen's last two films, and because of recommendation from a friend, we decided to give Mr. Allen another chance. With this new film, Mr. Allen seeks to regain his loyal fans by taking them for a ride to England, where probably most of the money for the picture was found. The results are mixed, but not a total failure. It's by no means, the great movie most people are telling us it is.Chris Wilton is a lucky man! As an old tennis player, he has had it. But like other men in his position, he finds a job in a tennis club as a pro. Since this is a place where the <more>
English upper classes go to, it's no surprise he meets Tom Hewett there. Chris has settled in London in order to take advantage of the cultural life there, something he has been lacking of. Tom is instrumental for introducing Chris, not only to the opera performance, but to his family, who accepts him as one of their own.Chris doesn't appear to be a social climber. It's just that he is at the right place, at the right time. The opening sequence of the movie sets the tone for what will follow. An explanation is heard, about how in a tennis game, the ball that bounces over the top of the net will determine who wins the match. In the ironic twist of fate at the end of the movie, something similar happens, although not related to a tennis match.Mr. Allen has gathered an interesting cast of mainly English actors that do good work under his direction. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is Chris, the lucky man who charms the pants of the Hewetts. Scarlett Johansson, in one of the sexiest parts she has played, makes a valuable contribution as the American aspiring actress. Emily Mortimer plays Chloe, who becomes the wife of Chris and his entry ticket into a world of money. Brian Cox and Penelope Wilton are seen as the older Hewetts. Matthew Goode appears as Tom. In minor roles we see the wonderful Margaret Tyzack in a pivoting role and James Nesbitt as a police detective.One of the best things in the film are the wonderful opera arias by Donizetti, Bizet, Rossini, and Verdi. We are even treated to a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Lady in White". Remi Adefarasin's cinematography serves the movie well.One can only hope Mr. Allen has left the neurotics back home in New York!