Match Point

2006-09-01 18:46


Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Myers), a struggling tennis pro who is past his sell-by date, takes a coaching job at a swish London club and befriends Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), the son of a wealthy businessman. Connected by their mutual love of opera Tom soon introduces Chris to his parents and his sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer), who immediately takes a shine to him. Seeing a window of opportunity to savour a piece of the good life, Chris falls into a half-hearted marriage with the drab and whiney Chloe. Until, that is, he meets Nola (Scarlett Johanssen), the sultry American seductress of his dreams, who just happens to be Tom's fiancee. Secret embraces and a rain-soaked blouse lead to an illicit affair with potentially disastrous consequences for all involved. The drama quickly escalates and leads to an unforeseen and unforgettable ending.


There seems to be so much to say about this little noir-esque gem and yet to over analyse it would be almost immoral. Hailed as one of Woody Allen's greatest creations and his return to top form, Match Point is about as un-Woody as it gets. In a shift both geographical and thematic, Allen's trademark storytelling has hung up it's polka dot hat and kicked off it's oversized shoes, paving the way for a dark and dramatic romantic thriller played out to perfection in the slushy grey streets of London.

Apart from the surface themes of romance, temptation and obsession and the chaos they create when thrown together, there is a deeper, darker philosophical question which lurks beneath the surface: the role of fate versus luck. Allen immediately demonstrates this in the opening scene with a tennis ball hitting the net in what can be imagined as a 'match point' scenario. It can either bounce and fall backwards or it can bounce and go over. What exactly is it that determines the outcome? Is it fate or is it luck? In my opinion, if it goes over it's fate and if it falls back its just sheer bloody bad luck, but then I've never been much of a philosopher - or a tennis player.

The movie's flawless execution - from the delicate and haunting operatic soundtrack, to the subtle lighting changes between the drab desaturation of Chloe's scenes and the warm shadowy glow of Nola's close-ups - is testament to the incredible talents of the director. At what might have been the end of his career Allen has carved out a new genre for himself with which to woo a whole new generation of audiences. In light of the stunning technical execution, the character portrayals from the entire cast seem a tad flat. In spite of his Golden Globe win for Elvis, Rhys-Myers' sullen monotony feels rather staged and uncomfortable. Perhaps intentional, his acting ability, or lack thereof, in no way affects the overall cinematic satisfaction and, I suppose, allows the plot itself its rightful limelight.

Match Point's deliciously cheerless mood absorbs you from the first note and clings to you long after the essential post-cinema coffee, leaving you swimming in your own thoughts and thoroughly detached from the world. It's not often a movie has such an intense physical impact on the viewer, so when this actually happens it all feels rather sublime and deserves to be revelled in.

Add this one to the top your must-see list and hold onto your seat in anticipation of a truly mind blowing conclusion to a masterful script. However, if it's flippant frivolity you're after, may I suggest you give Match Point a miss and hang on for the next State Of The Nation address instead.

- Kate Pare

A dark and disastrous thriller filled with deception, lust and ominous philosophical musings; this is Woody Allen as you've never seen him before.

sf 2006/06/10 6:02 PM
bcv cc
jessica jordan drake 2006/06/11 8:43 AM
CHICARGO STUNNING the cast the props everything - set in the early 1900's ROXIE ( renne zelwegga) is set to jail after killing her lover who promised her a place in the spotlight !!!! meanwhile VELMA KELLY ( catherine -zeta jones) who was the lastest stage stealer had too been sent to the same jail for killing her husband and sister. anyway MAMMA ( Queen latifa) the jail warden is always getting the girls wat they want -for a price. mamma suggests that roxie gets a top shot lawyer by the name of billy ( richard gere) to help her - together the movie is one unforgettable musical by jesssica jordan drake age 12 CHICARGO
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