Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers
MATCH POINT (2005). Written and directed by Woody Allen.

"I don't care that he's good. I just hope he's lucky."

Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers of Stonewall) is a British tennis instructor who becomes friends with a client, Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), and is sort of adopted by his wealthy family. Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer of The Pink Panther), falls for Chris, but he really has his eye on Tom's fiancee, the aspiring American actress Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson). Before you can say Crimes and Misdemeanors, Chris finds himself with a wife, Chloe, a cushy new life and position in his father-in-law's firm, and a mistress -- Tom's ex-fiancee Nola -- who is pregnant and making noises. Now what is Chris to do? As this is a Woody Allen movie, what do you think? Although this was seen by many as a "return to form" for Allen, it's really just an inferior retread of Crimes, and comes off more like a rip-off of the far superior A Life in the Sun (from Dreiser's "An American Tragedy.")  The acting cannot be faulted, however, and it's a pleasure to see Penelope Wilton of Downton Abbey as Chris' mother-in-law. Since Allen has pretty much revealed himself as a self-involved man who doesn't respect boundaries, his sociopathic "hero" is the same, so you can expect the same depressing non-denouement as in Crimes and Misdemeanors. Fortunately, in real life sociopaths aren't always so lucky, as you can see on practically any true crime program.

Verdict: This over-rated reprise of Crimes and Misdemeanors is entertaining, smooth, and very well-acted, but we've seen it before -- and better. **1/2.

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