Monday, June 27, 2022

Match Point

Movie Name:
Match Point
Year of Release: 2005
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew Goode, Emily Mortimer, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton, Rupert Penry-Jones, Mark Gatiss, Alexander Armstrong, Simon Kunz, Steve Pemberton, Ewen Bremner, James Nesbitt, Colin Salmon, Selina Cadell, Georgina Chapman
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review:
After the somewhat discrete "Melinda and Melinda", writer/director Woody Allen tackled an updated version of some of the themes he had already captured so eloquently in "Crimes and Misdemeanors".  The film follows the story of Chris Wilton, a retired professional tennis player, who currently works as an instructor in a posh club in London. While working there he develops a friendship with one of his clients, the wealthy Tom Hewett. Tom's older sister becomes smitten with Chris, whereas he is instantly enthralled by Tom's American girlfriend, Nola. Chris is given a job at Tom and Chloe's father's company, and he is soon advancing professionally, which also prompts conversations of marriage between him and Chloe. Unbeknownst to Chloe, Chris is involved in an affair with Nola. Once Chris gets married, the relationship with Nola cools off, until they accidentally meet and rekindle the affair. Things take an unexpected turn, when Nola informs him she's pregnant, something that threatens his plans. He decides to resort to drastic measures in order to assure his life does not change.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is one of Woody Allen's best features, not only because he manages to reconcile different plot threads expertly, but also because he tackles issues like guilt, crime and greed in ways that are both insightful and also darkly comical. In that film he also tackles the narrative of a well established man, who has a mistress, and who decides to get rid of her once she threatens his comfortable and pleasurable lifestyle. His guilt and fear of being caught weigh on him, until he realizes nothing will happen to him and that he has in fact, gotten away with it. "Match Point" has some echoes of that narrative, but the multiple narrative threads are streamlined to focus more intently on Chris' journey. There's also less humor in this feature, but definitely more eroticism between its lead characters. It's a film that traces and observes the lives of privileged individuals, and how that in itself, creates a dome/bubble around which they all seemingly live, without much consideration into the real world. While there are some interesting nuances into how Chris' social background meshes with the life of the affluent, the film never spends much time debating those issues. The film also fails to give much dimension to its main characters, aside from very broad strokes, but it is still one where the exchanges between the characters and the situations it stages, are both compelling and watchable. The production team assembled for this film is impeccable, including Remi Adefarasin's cinematography, Jim Clay's production design and Jill Taylor's costume design. The cast is uniformly strong, though Jonathan Rhys Meyers feels at times like a fish out of water. Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton and Scarlett Johansson are all solid in their creations. Worth watching.