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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.67%
Worth A Look51.65%
Average: 12.09%
Pretty Bad: 4.4%
Total Crap: 2.2%

9 reviews, 37 user ratings

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Match Point
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by brianorndorf

"Welcome back to quality, Mr. Allen"
4 stars

After a string of box office misses and decidedly uninspired work, Woody Allen packs up and heads to London for “Match Point.” The change of location suits the filmmaker just fine, with “Match” his most accomplished film in a long time. Surprising and unexpectedly sexual, “Match” brings Allen back to the quality his fans expect.

After a middling career in pro tennis, Chris (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, slinky and reserved) has found himself employed as a tennis pro at an English country club. It is there he meets Tom (Matthew Goode), a playboy who introduces Chris to his wealthy and influential family, including sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Looking for a bump in class, Chris marries Chloe, but Tom’s new fiancée, an American named Nola (Scarlett Johansson, in an ideal combo of sultry and disturbed), is what really sets his mind and loins wheeling. Instigating a rapturous affair with Nola, Chris embarks on a dangerous social journey that might threaten his perfect, respectable life.

Woody Allen has been in a rut as of late. Finding that his comic timing has lost its tick (“Hollywood Ending,” “Anything Else”), and his dramatic chops lacking urgency (“Melinda and Melinda”), “Match Point” finds the filmmaker at a creative dead end. So, I guess it’s time for a trip to England.

“Point” is one of the few Allen productions to be set outside of America (or New York City, to be more specific), and the change in scenery has really ignited the filmmaker’s cinematic tools. That’s not to say the picture strays far from Allen’s traditional visual and aural trimmings, but the jump across the pond has given Allen an opportunity to try examining new personalities, class systems, and locales. Thematically, “Point” has a lot in common with Allen’s 1989 masterpiece, “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” which, to some fans, might reek of stealing from himself. I can’t defend Allen’s questionable inspiration for “Point,” but I do enjoy the filmmaker’s continuing study of morality, and what part that plays in passion and critical decision-making.

In keeping with the new surroundings, “Point” explores the English class system and how it’s the fuel that drives Chris’s ambitions. Starting out as a lowly tennis instructor (with a history of failure), Chris soon begins to taste the high life with his courtship of Chloe, gradually climbing the ladder of money and respectability that’s as potent and important to him as the sexual gratification he gets from Nola. Allen mines this material for everything it’s worth, selling Chris’s new life with gorgeous locations that take the viewer into impeccable London apartments and the rolling countryside of a holiday home (shot beautifully by Remi Adefarasin). He also adds an element that rarely rears its head in an Allen production: sexual heat. While far from explicit, the affair between Chris and Nola provides some sequences that are unusually frenzied, yet feel necessary to comprehend the carnal desire that keeps impeding Chris’s good sense.

In trying to keep in line with my critic code of ethics, I must stop here in describing Allen’s scripted twists and turns; the final act of the film is runaway mine car of surprises, and keeps closely in line with the heavy opera backdrop of the story.

“Match Point” provides just enough reason to fall in love with Woody Allen again, with the auteur creating cracking good drama for the first time in a very long time, in a location that will hopefully relight the creative fires in him for years to come.

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originally posted: 12/25/05 14:20:24
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User Comments

11/10/15 David H. A very sexy Hitchcockian throwback. 5 stars
8/14/15 Langano Very good. 4 stars
8/09/10 Monday Morning A better Hitchcock movie than any Hitchcock movie. 5 stars
11/23/08 Samantha Pruitt very effective, keeps you on the edge of your seat, great acting! 5 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
11/16/07 Luisa Great Movie! Suspenseful...erotic... 4 stars
5/15/07 David Pollastrini Scarlett Looks hot in this! 3 stars
1/24/07 Christopher Best movie of 2005, Allen at his best. Loved every minute of this classic. Watch it. 5 stars
9/16/06 Grets A fine film with Scarlett gorgeous but ending somewhat lazy 4 stars
6/04/06 Indrid Cold Given the generic plot, it's about as good as it could be. Nothing to write home about. 4 stars
6/02/06 Phil M. Aficionado So-so. Well made and acted. But it left me cold and I don't care enough to ponder why. 3 stars
5/09/06 Monday Morning Great tension and surprising twists; but it could have been tightened up for sake of pace. 4 stars
5/08/06 Josephine i really liked this movie, it was something different not your regular love affair 5 stars
4/23/06 Mase Slow thriller, unlikable characters you just don't care about. Expected more, sorry. 3 stars
4/22/06 margotkidding Overhyped. Well executed, but none of the characters is recognizably human. 3 stars
4/04/06 Jenny Tullwartz The role ScarletJohansen was born for -- a botch who gets shit --uh, a bitch who gets shot. 3 stars
3/07/06 john bale Woody back in form - albeit with Hitchcock overtones. 4 stars
2/28/06 sbpat21 brilliant; a masterpiece 5 stars
2/25/06 PAG Most underrated move of 2005. Great movie. 5 stars
2/23/06 Koitus GREAT movie! Finally, a "movie for ADULTS." Scarlett beautiful as ever. 5 stars
2/18/06 jcjss so fine, clever, neat, fun, rascal, hot, smart, visually fine, edtied great, acting wow 5 stars
2/07/06 Elizabeth S A terrific role for the always excellent Jonathan Rhys Meyers! 4 stars
1/25/06 Mike V Best Woody Allen Movie in years 4 stars
1/23/06 astrotart I thought I saw this already on Lifetime? 2 stars
1/23/06 Andrew Phillips It's the director who tries to get away with murder. 2 stars
1/21/06 Ole Man Bourbon Crap. A chore. You banged Sun Yi, get over it, we're sick of hearing about it. 2 stars
1/19/06 karen and liz lil romeo is so sexy 5 stars
1/18/06 marty derivative, shaggy dog story 2 stars
1/10/06 John an extremly tense and well put together thriller - impressive 5 stars
1/09/06 C. Hilton Lousy - no redeeming value - 1 stars
1/09/06 Gil Carlson Great film, has depth and movement. Makes you think afterwards. 5 stars
12/30/05 Jim The Movie Freak Welcome back Woody. It only took you 20 years! 5 stars
12/29/05 simolife24 cinema 4 stars
12/29/05 Bruce Bethany A masterpiece Hitchcock might envy. 5 stars
12/20/05 Ray Superb 5 stars
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  28-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 25-Apr-2006

  06-Jan-2006 (12A)


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