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Rated: PG-13 for adult language, violence, and strong sexual themes.
Genre: Drama Thriller Mystery
Directed By: Woody Allen
Running Time: 2:04
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 5/04/06
DVD Features:



One of the many surefire traditions of Hollywood was that Allen’s next film would always be set in New York, regardless of the time period, and with “Match Point” it’s a change in pace for the man who made New York a truly defining setting for many excellent films. “Match Point” is filled with excellent set pieces and settings based in and around the London landscape, and Allen’s gorgeous photography is matched by his keen eye for detail and his ability to take one setting and either turn it from a beautiful romantic spot or to a monotonous trapping of luxurious society. There are many good performances here particularly from Jonathan Rhys-Meyers who is a very slimy and Mortimer who plays a more submissive persona and gives a very charming and sweet performance. Beyond that, Allen’s film is filled with talent, and excellent direction which he revels in displaying for the audience.

I wish I can say that Woody Allen’s venture in to new territory was great—had he actually explored new territory, mind you. And I wish I could proclaim this a giant rip-off of Allen’s style, had Allen not directed it. Fact is, though, Allen’s involvement in the film doesn’t deter the idea that “Match Point” feels like imitation Woody Allen. It’s often been described as “the serious sub-plot of “Crimes and Misdemeanors” extended in to a film”, and that’s an apt description. However, when all is said and done, I’d describe this as a remake of “A Place in the Sun”. Young desperate man gets in to a relationship, finds himself in another better relationship, he finds the previous relationship is weighing down on him, he disposes of the situation through violent methods, and finds he’s having trouble sealing it up nice and tight. More appropriately though, Allen’s film is a combination of both.

A regurgitation and a recycling. I’ve become ensconced and elated with Allen’s writing over the last few years, and the man has a knack not only for human action, but with human dialogue. “Match Point” is clearly the exception to the rule. As much as it pains me to say, as much as I was looking forward to this, Allen’s first foray into a different territory is a sad state of affairs. His writing in particularly is always rather shrewd. We can never be sure if he attempts to pose his characters as smooth and stylish, or if he’s trying to have them force themselves to be smooth and stylish, but Allen’s writing is forced regardless. I found the writing was often incredibly hackneyed and put upon the audience as if he expected us to believe people like this could behave in such a manner. Allen’s dialogue always feels so smooth, fluid, and realistic, but here it felt like he was forcing the characters in to this often awkward dialogue with truly forced drama that was never genuine.

Should we give a crap about what happens with rich people? Not really. “Crimes and Misdemeanors” examined common people committing cruel atrocities against each other, but here it’s simply an episode of “The OC” set in the UK. It’s all simply Allen’s mystery sans the tension and freeze-dried and re-packaged to look like an actual original idea. But the film alone is utterly self-indulgent with smug acting, unlikable characters, and no essence of the director. The film is soulless, thus Allen shows himself to be soulless. If that doesn’t make things even worse, Johannsen’s performance is sadly the worst of the film. Johannsen’s acting is based on highs and lows, and here she’s at her all time low. With a seasoned cast, and complex character, she can never keep up. Her performance is wooden, and her delivery of her dialogue is unconvincing. What was he thinking casting her in the first place? Is she sexy? Hell yeah, but I also know of sexy actresses whom could have pulled in a very good performance. We never sympathize for her, and her character motivations are just confusing and lackluster. The film as a whole never feels as if Allen is committing, and “Match Point” is a half-hearted effort.

Sometimes, a change of pace isn’t automatically a good thing for someone. Allen’s experiment in to a new locale is well-intentioned, but ultimately very misguided. “Match Point”, in spite of some good performances by Meyers and Mortimer, is really just a limp, dull, and contrived rehash of other films with a wretched performance by Johannsen. Disappointing, is the general bullet point of this review.



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