Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

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Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby wpqx » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:45 am

Well I guess I the self proclaimed Woody Allen authority should fittingly be the first to see this, and in all honesty this is the first time I have caught a Woody Allen film on the big screen. The comparissons to Crimes and Misdemeanors is relavent and there is certainly evidence to support it here. Allen was often quoted as saying that he wished his comic subplot was removed from Crimes and Misdemeanors and the film just focused on Saul Bellow's moral delemna. Well roughly 15 years later he gets his chance, takes his story out of the country, and makes the morally ambiguous film he wanted years ago.

The cast is in amazing form, and I think it is a blessing that Allen for once in the last two decades avoided major movie stars. Sure Scarlett Johansen is earning A-list credentials these days, but she is somewhat supporting, and after The Island she may have dipped a bit on the popularity charts. Her performance however good is still typical of the Allen heroine, alluring at first, but ultimately obsessive. Allen is a mysoginist, let's face it, and it shows in his movies countless times.

Chloe (Emily Mortimer) is by far the most typical Allen character. She is agressor in the relationship with Chris. She is all about offering her help, and it is her that makes the suggestion of where should they first have sex. Likewise she is the loving unsuspecting wife who wants the baby, coaxes him into marriage, and is generally needy. Allen males generally don't have to work too hard, and if they do it is only because obsessive women like Chloe and Nola (Johannsen) make it so. Nola takes the role once given to Angelica Huston in Crimes and Misdeanors and although it's nothing new, she has a much more alluring quality with her youth that was lacking in the earlier film.

Allen's existentialism comes roaring back here. Once again he gets to believing that there is no point in the world, and I for one am glad this side of Allen has returned. He's avoided anything serious or philosophical in his last several films, so it is a welcome rememberence of Allen the more serious filmmaker, and incarnation I honestly preferred to the comedian. Although this isn't Allen taking himself too seriously as he did in September, but he still isn't funny here. In fact I don't recall a laugh here, but there still isn't an overwhelming tension built up. There is a slight relief laugh near the end, but to discuss it would give away far too much of the plot.

When murder gets involved Allen instantly becomes obsessed with human guilt. The debate arises as to whether or not you can sensibly get away with it, not in terms of the police, but morally. This was the main theme of Crimes and Misdemeanors where Saul nearly cracked but wound up eventually living with the guilt is something that has plagued Allen since. This belief that man could get away with murder and would only get caught if he wanted to. First rate Allen, and if this is a return to form, I welcome it.

Grade A -

Re: Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby hengcs » Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:30 am

SenileFelines also like it ...

But where is SenileFelines now …

Re: Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby peppajaa » Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:57 am

I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but this was an amazing film. . . . dark, menacing, mysterious. . whew! Go see it.

Re: Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby hengcs » Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:46 am

Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer

The film received 4 Golden Globe nominations.

The official website

My thoughts ...

-- Overall, it is a film for one to think about ... for the first half, I am rather captivated by the dialogues and lines (though I hope the pacing could move a bit faster) ... but by the second half, I like the pacing and the tension ... not sure about others, but i definitely like the way the film ENDS ... wow ... * naughty grin *

-- I wonder if Asians and Westerners would have a slightly different take on the film ... why?
* well, in order to make discussion simple, there will be some "generalization/stereotyping" on my part, so please do not take offense or be too defensive *

well, i have always wondered about the issues of "chance/luck/destiny/fate" versus "control" ... as a generalization, many american films (or people?!) tend to be more positive (so they are believers of being in "control" of everything, cf. the seven habits of effective people?!) ... and that one always has a choice in life ... well, for once i thought this film dares to be different by challenging the notion of being not in control and adopting an interesting ending ...

on the other hand, Asians (not all) tend to place slightly more beliefs in fate/destiny ... i.e., you really can't change anything sometimes ... so, in a way, i am very pleased to have a film that reflects on the following issues again
i.e., how much does chance play in our lives?
i.e., in real life, does being kind always pay? does evil always get punished?
i.e., what is "punishment" anyway? in the law or in the mind ...

Recommended ...

Re: Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Mon May 15, 2006 5:45 pm


Directed by Woody Allen (2005)

Match Point has been hailed as an example of a Woody Allen comeback. If this is the best he can do to remind people of his past glory, it's time to re-release Annie Hall. Aside from the standard Allen cynical and negative worldview, this film has uninteresting, cardboard characters who exhibit a complete and utter lack of self-awareness. Allen is apparently so enamored of the British upper class that he endows them with a glamour and cultured elegance that borders on fantasy, and his depiction of women ranges from hysterical to clinging to morally insensitive. Allen's own philosophy is well expressed at the outset by the main character Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a former Tennis pro who reads Dostoevsky but whose outlook on life is south of Samuel Beckett.

The man who said Id rather be lucky than good saw deeply into life", he philosophizes. "People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. Its scary to think so much is out of ones control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward and you win...or maybe it doesnt, and you lose. So much for skill, experience, and the power of intention in life. Set in a London that is barely recognizable to most ordinary people, Wilton is hired as a tennis instructor and his first pupil is a member of the wealthy Hewitt family, Tom (Matthew Goode). Affable but rather vacuous, Tom is engaged to be married to the sultry Nola (whatever Nola wants, Nola gets) played by Scarlet Johanssen.

Chris can't take his eyes off Nola but falls under the spell of Tom's sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer) who seems to be more obsessed with the idea of love, marriage, and children than with the reality. It is not long before Chloe gets her wish to make momma happy and Chris becomes part of the family, working for dear old dad in the business world. The two seem to share a love of the opera but in a way that is so detached and devoid of emotion they could just as well be addicted to hanging wallpaper.

Bored with the job and guilty about his inability to make Chloe pregnant (another run of bad luck presumably), Chris thoughts turn to the more appealing Nola but when Nola gets pregnant instead of Chloe (darn the luck), some serious decisions have to be made. Try as I might, I found no interest in the characters, their outlook on life, and little concern for how it all turned out. To say I found the ending as appalling as the beginning doesn't imply that I found anything worthwhile in between. The only plus I can allude to is that Allen does not appear on screen. Chalk it up to luck.


Re: Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby A » Sat May 20, 2006 7:48 pm

Interesting varying comments on Allen's new film. I haven't seen it yet myself, but as a woody Allen fan I hope to have seen all of his films sometime in the future. It was playing in a lot of theaters near me, but I wasn't interested, since his output after the millenium doesn't seem much to me. The last film by Woody I saw in a theater, "Melinda and Melinda", was actually the worst of about 20 films I've seen by him. But it was also the first of his films I gave a slightly negative rating. Usually I find his films entertaining in a good sense. The funny thing is that I think he made his best films in the late 90s, followed by the late 70s. I hope he will return to form sometime again, but I will have to wait with my own judgment until I see "Match Point" or more probably his next one.

Re: Woody Allen's Match Point (2005)

Postby wpqx » Sun May 21, 2006 6:42 pm

The only Allen film I really disliked was September, one of his attempts at being Bergman, with a slight touch of Douglas Sirk, a horrible combination. I do love Allen's late 90's output, but he always works best on a run. Hopefully Match Point will set up a new run of great films. I'm surprised I rated it as high as I did. The more I think about it though it is rather repetitive of Crimes and Misdemeanors.

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