Saturday 31 December 2005

Match Point (2005) - ickleReview (cinema)

New Woody Allen movie shot in London and the home counties. Ex-tennis pro Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) gets a job as a tennis coach in an exclusive club and, through one of his pupils, Tom Hewett, befriends a wealthy upper-class family. He marries Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) but then has an affair with Nora, Tom's ex-girlfriend, a sexy but failing American actress (Scarlett Johansson). The plot echoes Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Deconstructing Harry.

The acting is a little edgy: at times I wondered if the lines were being delivered too woodenly; but then they captured the awkward body language of polite social situations. Allen scouts the London sights a bit like a tourist (do New Yorkers feel the same way about how he portrays their city?). I'm also not sure he writes as well for British actors, but then the social set he's aiming at are a bit divorced from my quotidian reality, even in Oxford.

An enjoyable and beautifully shot film, nevertheless, in which Allen seems to encounter the same writing impasse he explored in Melinda and Melinda when an essentially serious plot borders on farce.

Nugget: not his best of recent movies (see Anything Else) but confident, assured Allen, even in unfamiliar surroundings. I'd like to see him shoot another film in the UK, a comedy next time.

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