From the Video Shop: Match Point
2005 - United Kingdom - 124 minutes
Writer and Director - Woody Allen
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars
A talented young Irish tennis professional moves to London and obtains a position at an exclusive tennis club, makes friends with a wealthy member, becomes romantically involved with the member's sister, and then becomes sexually involved with the member's fiancé. The story in nothing new, but it is written and produced with great panache by Woody Allen.
Roger Ebert in his review says, "…often he uses a Woody Figure (preferably played by himself) as the hero. Match Point contains no one like Woody Allen… " I find that statement ironic for, as I watched the film, I was thinking that the main character - skillfully played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers - is a Woody Allen hero. The only difference is that, in most of Allen's films, the lead character is a somewhat neurotic Jew lost in a world of Gentiles whereas in Match Point, the lead character is a somewhat neurotic poor Irishman lost in a world of Englishmen. None-the-less, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is perfect for the part of Chris Wilton in the film because he has the ability to appear in many different guises from an innocent boy-like man to the incarnation of pure evil, and the complex character of Wilton offers that full range to the actor. Meyers' acting and Allen's writing and direction keeps you wandering as to the fate of this character all the way to the end of the film.
Scarlett Johansson plays Nola Rice, the object of Chris Wilton's adulterous desire, and she is beautiful in both physical appearance and acting skill in the part. Again, we are shown a person whose diverse emotions make her seem a different person at various times in the film.
Most of us wear our masks and adjust our behaviors according to our needs and the situation, but the characters in Match Point - particularly the two major characters - have honed that skill to absolute perfection. As Mr. Ebert also states, "…each and every character is rotten…" I didn't find them all totally rotten - some are just a little on the gamey side. Without likeable or admirable characters, the captivation and brilliance of the film is that Woody Allen has given us these people, shown us what they do, and then lets us see the realistic - not moralistic - results.
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