And so Woody Allen picks up his camera and moves the location of his latest film across the channel to London. In the process? Match Point
becomes one of his finer efforts of recent times.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers leads the cast as Chris Wilton, a former professional tennis player, who quickly lands himself a job as a coach. As he goes about his business, he meets Chloe (Emily Mortimer), and a relationship soon ensues, much to the delight of her family.
With some speed, he quickly finds himself working for her father (Brian Cox), and wedding bells arent too far away. Yet theres a fly in the ointment, in the shapely form of Chloes brothers girlfriend, played by Scarlet Johansson. Johanssons powers of attraction--and bluntly, she looks terrific here--arent lost on him, setting the stage for an intriguing mix of thriller and drama that comes very much alive in the final act.
Allen wisely utilises London not just to give his film a different feel to usual, but also to embellish it with a strong cast of primarily British actors. And while Match Point doesnt deliver the clever humour and wry laughs you find in the majority of the prolific writer-directors work, this is still very much an engaging film.
Ironically, those likely to warm to the film the least are Allens most loyal fanbase. Save for the minimalist credits and the jazz soundtrack, its hard to tell hes behind the camera with Match Point, and that has the trade off of making it accessible to those not usually won over by Woody Allens talents. And yet still, theres something for everyone here, and while Match Point is far from the peak of Allens work, its still a fine addition to an exemplary body of work.--Simon Brew
Johansson/Goode ~ Match Point