Match Point Review

Jan 23, 2006 | 7:21am EST

No Match Point isn’t about tennis--well not in the traditional sense anyway. It’s more a metaphor revolving around a pivotal moment in the life of one-time tennis pro Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). You see he’s grown tired of the pro-circuit life and wants something different in his life. As luck would have it he meets and marries the very rich Chloe Hewett (Emily Mortimer) and is soon exposed to the kind of money and success he always dreamed of having. But he’s still restless leaving the door wide open for the impossibly beautiful and alluring Nola (Scarlett Johansson) to step through. Their (fatal?) attraction turns into an obsessive affair--when do they not?--which inevitably forces Chris to make a critical choice. It doesn’t end well I can tell you that. Match Point’s players may have Woody Allen-esque tendencies but in the hands of the mostly British cast it’s quite a different experience. First there’s Rhys Meyers (TV’s Elvis). With piercing deep-set eyes and pouty lips he plays Chris brilliantly calm even as he’s doing the most despicable things. Mortimer (Dear Frankie) and Matthew Goode (Chasing Liberty) as Chloe’s brother and Nola’s former fiancée are also quite good as a pair of stable Brits keeping things in perspective. And then there’s the sumptuous Johansson the troublesome Yank who's making the British men go ga-ga. It’s quite obvious Allen himself fell slightly in love with his young ingénue as he frames her in picturesque tableaus again and again. But when things start to go very sour in the affair Johansson’s Nola comes the closest to the classic Woody Allen neurotic--paranoid obsessive and handing down ultimatums. Woody in London! Who would have thought he’d ever leave New York? The 70 year-old director for whatever reason has found a new place to fall in love with filming the British capital with as much tender loving care as he did with his beloved Big Apple. Maybe it was the change of scenery that also finally kicked Allen in the butt and inspired him to write something meaty again. I mean we all know he has issues which he’s always managed to work out on film but Match Point is the dark side of Woody we don’t see too often. To be perfectly honest after watching the film it’s a little scary to think about exactly what goes on in the man’s head. The film slips up however in its similarities with the director’s far more superior Crimes and Misdemeanors. It could be Allen--who has made countless films and vows to continue to make a movie a year no matter what--may have finally used up all his originality. Point. Set. Match.

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