03 December 2006

The Talented Mr. Allen?

Rented Match Point last night (2005) and was shocked to discover that it's basically a high-class, Allen-esque version of the equally terrible The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). The strongest similarity between the movies is the painful length -- both are tediously long, though Ripley wins that war with an additional 15 minutes of tedium -- while the biggest, most obvious difference between the movies is Allen's use of opera to accent the "action" and reinforce that sense of upper-crusty class.

I saw Ripley when it was out in theaters, and had I not been dependent on someone else for a ride home would have left -- early and often, like voting. With Match Point, at least I was already home. But the whole striver-makes-good-while-being-an-ungrateful-cad theme gets tiresome, especially when every piece of the story is so predictable. Ok (spoiler alert), so Jonathan Rhys Meyers' "Chris Wilton" gets away with it, and thus has to live with his guilty conscience (and car and driver, and fancy apartment, and over-paid job, and ...), which might count for unpredictability elsewhere, but not here. The movie frames the entire plot around the idea of luck, and the luck-related plot twist isn't enough to challenge the viewer. Never mind that it comes so late in the movie that one is half-asleep and yearning (and yawning) for a denouement of any kind.

Woody Allen is (or was, anyway) a phenomenal film maker, but even Scarlett Johansson's sexy pout can't save Match Point. In fact, that may be why she's pouting: it's not sexiness, just dismay.

What do you think? Vote!


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