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Overall Rating
3.23

Awesome: 3.33%
Worth A Look42.22%
Average: 31.11%
Pretty Bad: 21.11%
Total Crap: 2.22%

10 reviews, 30 user ratings



Alfie (2004)
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by Natasha Theobald

"Charmed? I'm not sure."
3 stars

Somehow, I expected something more. I knew the character of Alfie may well be fairly shallow, but I didn't expect life around him to follow suit. Alfie is self-involved, for sure, the center of his own universe. But, even as the foundation of his existence as such is shaken, nothing really scratches the surface. Sure, he chatters on ad nauseum about what he has learned and where he is going, but I found myself mostly tuning him out like white noise. If he doesn't really care, then why the hell should I?

I love Jude Law. Even in movies that don't quite work, he gives the audience something to consider, something meaty to chew over. So, I was looking forward to seeing him in this leading role, as the driving force of this story. He is Alfie, a single and loving it cad who savors women like fine wine before disposing of them, for him, the empty vessels. He has lots of sex, much of it good. He has a job. He has a best friend. To him, this is living. While it wouldn't be my personal choice, I can see how a young guy in a great city might take a few years out to explore a certain level of hedonism. I am not completely unsympathetic, just not really mesmerized.

Alfie has the good fortune to attract many beautiful women to him. From a feisty Jane Krakowski to a sweet Marisa Tomei to a stunningly beautiful Sienna Miller, he can hardly complain. The two hook-ups with the most palpable chemistry (in terms of the movie), though, come in the forms of Nia Long and Susan Sarandon. These two each take a toll. Between them and a friendship with another man (Omar Epps), which he jeopardizes, Alfie does have some experiences of substance. It's what he does with them that doesn't much count.

My issues with the movie start with style. First off, the bulk of it is narrated by Alfie to camera. I started to feel a bit like him, actually, thinking the way I thought he might with some women. He talked too much. It was grating at times. Of course I enjoyed watching Law seducing the women, but I was tempted to watch with the sound muted. Between his constant yammering and the theme song, which I absolutely despise, Golden Globe notwithstanding, I longed for a little stoic silence, some mental respite.

Two (and too), I had some style issues with the way things looked. The color palette was off-putting to me. It was distinctive, to be sure, but it felt too stylized. I wanted grit, and they gave me glitz. I wanted reality, and they gave me nostalgia and a fairy tale. The billboards marked with single words like "Wish" and "Desire" were odd and ill-fitting. We get that the world revolves around Alfie, and we get that the movie revolves around Alfie. It felt too closed off to billboard themes or thoughts and made me claustrophobic in this Alfie-world. I hoped for something a little less contrived.

On the positive side, some of the scenes were absolutely gorgeous. The rain and the neon bar lights and the pool table with the great poster in the background and the way Law and Nia Long looked - it was all amazing. You just knew from the beginning that the table was meant for more than playing pool. In fact, all of their scenes felt truer and more real, somehow, like a better movie with honest drama crept in while she was around. Related to that, Omar Epps also makes the most of his time, giving a powerful performance that shouldn't be forgotten, no matter how minimal the screen time.

The style of the whole romance with Miller is interesting, as it is recorded and reported via split screen photos - another bold choice which worked well. I also loved a lot of the black and white photography. I first noticed the pictures in Julie's (Tomei) apartment, but the final credits were striking, as well. It made me wish the whole movie had been done that way. I would buy a book of those pictures before I would buy a DVD of this movie.

I remember a movie with Jude Law called "Immortality" (or "The Wisdom of Crocodiles"). I didn't love it, but I find myself thinking about it sometimes, so strong was the impression. Perhaps my expectations were skewed by my desire to see Law take that sort of thing to the next level. Maybe my disappointment with the over-glossy simplicity of this tale is my own fault. It just felt empty and a little used up.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11120&reviewer=317
originally posted: 03/18/05 20:32:05
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User Comments

1/14/10 Samantha P jude law does a great job in a kind of alright movie. 3 stars
2/04/08 art an excellent remake sienna miller is a perfect 10 jude law fill's micheal caine's shoe's 4 stars
5/03/07 David Pollastrini Just OK 3 stars
12/25/06 Jackie Jude Law did an outstanding job only reason i give it 4 stars movie in general not so great 4 stars
5/22/06 Diane P really looking forward to this one but very disappointed in it 2 stars
3/11/06 Tanya it was okay could have been better 3 stars
10/14/05 eddiejohns Definitely a guide for men on how not to be. 3 stars
5/22/05 JFK average movie, but worth a look for the music 4 stars
5/16/05 Jim A semi-interesting portrait of a sort of cad 3 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan Ending isn't very good 4 stars
3/25/05 Trish Rucker See the original instead! 3 stars
3/21/05 Kyle I thought it was really good. Felt sorry for him at the end. 4 stars
3/19/05 PAMELA HANSEN this sleeping dog should have been let lie ...leave well enough alone 3 stars
3/11/05 Sid Savillo/Novelist/Scriptwriter The Emptiness he has has to be filled in by women he ins and outs. 4 stars
2/23/05 Joseph Venanzi first Italian Job now Alfie. What's next remaking M. Cain's Last Valley? 2 stars
2/21/05 fiona I felt like they expected me to like the character, Alfie. I didn't. lame. 2 stars
2/11/05 Sharon Davis not as good as the old one 3 stars
2/09/05 Al Guy Not as "real" as the original. Ok. 3 stars
2/06/05 Cassandra Farrar great job by all 4 stars
2/04/05 sue ostergard This one seems pretty dumb to me. 2 stars
1/27/05 Roz The film wins some style points but doesn't come up to the original. 3 stars
12/30/04 Candace Troy Powers Yep! I can only pity anyone desperate enough to fuck Susan Sirhandon & Marisa Ptomaine! 2 stars
12/30/04 Valerie Jones Why should Alfie get blamed for never meeting anyone worth "committing" to? 2 stars
11/14/04 Joe Smaltz I must be becoming Movie junkie; I was in awe of the cinematography , photography, Editing 4 stars
11/12/04 Andrea great actor, lousy film...bring back Michael Caine 2 stars
11/11/04 nicole it was awesome jude law looker hot in it too ;) 5 stars
11/11/04 Naka Nope! 1 stars
11/10/04 impartial judgement lame and boring 1 stars
11/09/04 kris jude law was very stylish and sexy. And his downfall was displayed very well. 5 stars
11/06/04 Kris Jude was great. Looked great, too! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 15-Mar-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Jan-2005


Directed by
  Charles Shyer

Written by
  Charles Shyer
  Elaine Pope

Cast
  Jude Law
  Marisa Tomei
  Omar Epps
  Susan Sarandon
  Nia Long
  Jane Krakowski



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