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For those who don't know, Match Point is a tennis term for the winning player being one point away from victory. Match Point, Woody Allen's 2005 film, utilises the sport to create several symbolic moments. That is just a part of why this taut, engaging thriller is great. Even if you strip the film down to the bare essentials, you still get a stomach-twisting vision of infidelity and inner-conflict fuelled by the powerful class system. And that is why it's excellent: non-active viewers can engage on a level that it just keeps you on edge constantly, while more deconstructive viewers can appreciate all of its metaphors and themes.
Match Point's premise is simple at a glance. We follow Chris, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, a retired professional Tennis player. He strikes a friendship with the wealthy Tom Hewitt after an enigmatic conversation involving a love for opera. Chloe, Tom's older sister, falls in love with Chris and the two begin dating. However, things become difficult once Chris meets Nola, Tom's current fiancée. A seductive American actress, needless to say Chris falls in love with her. What Woody then begins to demonstrate is a pain-staking affair with moments of tension as Chris carefully plans Nola around his worklife. Things take an unexpected turn about twenty minutes near the end, and it's an interesting shift which still wrings tension. It's a simple plot, but Allen never hesitates to twist our stomach as he shows the psychological effects this affair is having on not only Chris and Chloe, but also Nola as she becomes frustrated.
Those who follow Allen closely known he is a director of mixed blessings. It feels like for every Manhattan he makes, he churns out mediocrity such as 2012's To Rome with Love. Match Point, however, was created after 12 years of lacklustre success, and most would agree Match Point is a welcome return to form. That being said, it's got some issues which mostly stem from the fact Allen is forced into the UK due to budget from the BBC. Almost like a tourist, Allen explores the UK with both hits and misses in accuracy, making the film feel obviously constructed at times. The appearance of James Nesbitt and Ewen Bremner near the end of the film highlight this, creating a duo of stereotypical characters which make the film feel somewhat silly, though they don't completely spoil the film. Some of the dialogue feels clunky and odd at times too, which is a shame because it's more noticeable in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, Allen's direction is still top notch. He has a knack for well-shot scenes, and this doesn't disappoint, with great visual moments such as the opening part depicting a tennis ball bouncing off a net, representing the sides of luck. Allen also cleverly integrates pieces of opera, which strangely fit their designated scenes perfectly. However, Match Point is different to his usual repertoire of films, being one of many which the director doesn't star in himself. This symbolises another element Allen has removed from the proceedings: comedy. There are very few moments which will have you laughing: instead, Allen constantly drains us emotionally and pulls at our hearts. It's not an easy film to watch, particularly if you are sensitive to displays of sex, but moreso because Allen gives such weight to the three leading cast members - Meyers, Mortimer and Johansson - that watching this seedy love triangle occur is plain difficult. You feel angry because Meyers can't commit: he is bored with Mortimer, yet he doesn't want to lose to the luxuries and high-class job which comes with her engagement, creating an intriguing debate over class.
Taking Match Point down to its simplest terms, it works as a tense psychological thriller. As mentioned, we frequently experience the psychological effects of this affair on Chris, Chloe and even Lola. You feel like it's a pressure cooker rising, waiting to explode. This is heightened by the way Allen shoots the scenes between Chris and Lola. It feels like Allen deliberately portrays both characters as sloppy, with them kissing in public and discussing their relations in public coffee shops. You feel uneasy because anyone could be listening, and that would be the catalyst needed to implode this affair. You also feel tense when Chris is around Chloe: she beings to notice changes in Chris, and the constant calls from Lola while he is with her arouse interest and suspicion. You can't help but be on edge constantly, waiting for this affair to somehow be exposed.
Perhaps that is why, then, the shift in events near the end of the film really hit you. Again, things begin to build up, and you suspect something is about to happen, but Chris' mannerisms are so unpredictable that you're unsure what he is about to do. The events which occur leave your jaw dropped, and yet none of the tension is dropped as we focus on what happens afterwards. It becomes a different ball game, yet Allen carefully leaves the audience in a state of unease despite what happens. Those who go in with analytical minds will indeed get a kick out of the tennis allegory which comes full circle, as well as the many themes of class, guilt and luck. Oh boy, does luck play such a pivotal role in this film.
Without strong actors, however, the film arguably would have failed. Thankfully, most of the talented cast seem to bring their A-game here. Rhys Meyers is perhaps the weakest. He is not awful mind you, but Allen makes it difficult for us to really like him because you sometimes feel his actions border on idiotic. That being said, you empathise with him because Rhys Meyers gives an emotional performance: you feel every ounce of conflict he does. Emily Mortimer, on the other hand, is extremely likable. Her bright, peppy performance makes her a charming character - which is cruel because you feel awful watching Meyers cheat on her. Johansson was simply outstanding, giving probably her best performance. She is cruel, seductive and yet entirely human. Her frustrations are easy to relate to because she never really acts the way she is portrayed by the cold mother-in-law. Other actors such as Brian Cox, James Nesbit and Matthew Goode have minor roles, and don't contribute a great deal to the film, but give solid performances none the less.
Match Point is a great film, and the return to glory Woody Allen needed. It's a change for sure, shying away from Allen's more comedic films in favour of cruelty and tension and this combined with Allen's tendency towards English stereotypes and clunky dialogue make Match Point dissatisfying for some. But those who go in with an open mind will find a tense, emotionally draining psychological thriller with twists and turns which leave the viewer shocked long after the credits roll. The performances are mostly tight, giving weight to the characters and making their actions more difficult to watch. Those with a passion for less violent thrillers and deeper, psychological studies will find Match Point to be sheer brilliance, and yet anyone looking for a rousing tale which requires little effort to follow will be equally engaged.
Match Point, directed by Woody Allen, is dripping in passion and tension.
The film, which is perhaps not widely-known but achieved critical acclaim through its nomination for four Golden Globe awards, is built on the premise of a ball hitting the top of the net in a game of tennis. For a split second it can fall either side. In that split second your fate as a winner or loser is held in the balance.
Match Point follows Chris, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, as he rises up in society through his role as a tennis coach. He is taken over by ambition and finds himself not only bagging a rich wife but lusting after a struggling American actress who just happens to be married to his wife's brother.
The American actress, played by Woody Allen's muse Scarlett Johansson, and Chris succumb to their passions and it is this which leads to Chris' downfall as he takes desperate measures to cover up his affair.
A disposal of an old lady's wedding ring mirrors the same scenario as the tennis ball hitting the top of the net. It hits the top of the bridge and for a moment hangs in the air, suspended between falling over the bridge and into the water and falling back onto the path. One denotes the success of Chris' desperate plot and the other failure.
What I really enjoyed about this film is the balance between sedate Britishness and gripping suspense and passion. The whole film has the air of a classic British film - aided by games of tennis and ambles around London art galleries - but also through the running theme of opera. The family enjoy going to the opera but it is this music which permeates through to the rest of the film to punctuate the action.
It is to this cultured, sedentary background that Scarlett Johansson's character Nola arrives. Johansson plays to aplomb the role of the American woman at odds with her surroundings. Her presence in the film stands out in stark contrast with the rest of the cast and so we can understand immediately her difficult position in this setting and expect something untoward to happen.
Nola moves from the role of confident temptress to insecure, desperate neurotic.
Rhys Myers plays the character of Chris in an incredibly understated way, which works for this part. He communicates very little verbally but is able to get across to the camera his inner turmoil. Due to his silences, we actually feel more palpably his fraught emotions and so the tension is built ever more.
There is a strong supporting cast of some of Britain's greater talents including Penelope Wilton and Emily Mortimer and there is even a small part played by comedian turned game show host Alexander Armstrong.
This is the kind of film that probably will not leap out at people from the DVD rack but once watched will be admired and enjoyed by a number of different audiences, from those who enjoy the look and feel of classic British films to those into suspense or passionate love stories.
I would highly recommend watching it and despite the film working on the basis of suspense and uncertainty it can be watched again and again to understand better the complexities of the characters and the subtleties of Woody Allen's direction.
I´m shocked that this film has got 4 out of 5 on this site, I accept that the cast is pretty awesome and the story itself is very watchable, but the dialogue is awful, absolutely cringemakingly bad.
The story follows Chris (Rhys Meyers) a former Tennis pro seeking new work, he makes friends with Tom Hewitt (Matthew Goode) and through him meets Tom´s sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer), Chloe is from rich stock and Tom takes advantage of her feelings for him to build a relationship, meanwhile Chris falls for Nola (Scarlett Johannson) the American actress girlfriend of Tom. Chris and Tom carry on an affair and their relationship puts Chris´opportunities to be somebody in society with Chloe in jeopardy leaving him to decide between security and love/lust.
The story has catastrophic results for some of its participants and not for others.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Chris Wilton (as Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
Alexander Armstrong ... Mr. Townsend
Paul Kaye ... Estate Agent
Matthew Goode ... Tom Hewett
Brian Cox ... Alec Hewett
Penelope Wilton ... Eleanor Hewett
Emily Mortimer ... Chloe Hewett Wilton
Janis Kelly ... 'La Traviata' Performer
Alan Oke ... 'La Traviata' Performer
Mark Gatiss ... Ping-Pong Player
Scarlett Johansson ... Nola Rice
Philip Mansfield ... Waiter
Simon Kunz ... Rod Carver
Geoffrey Streatfield ... Alan Sinclair (as Geoffrey Streatfeild)
Mary Hegarty ... 'Rigoletto' Performer
John Fortune ... John the Chauffeur
Rupert Penry-Jones ... Henry
Colin Salmon ... Ian
Steve Pemberton ... Detective Parry
Ewen Bremner ... Inspector Dowd
James Nesbitt ... Detective Banner
I´ve included the most well known cast members here because as you can see this is a really good mostly British cast, Rhys Meyers is awful in the lead whilst Scarlett Johannson like Rhys Meyers looks much better than she acts. Goode is underused, bit parts for people like James Nesbitt, Ewan Bremner and Steve Pemberton as policemen as stilted and forced and embarrassing to watch. Johannson looks awesome, but her dialogue is totally unamerican and she ends up coming across as a whiney siren.
The cast is stellar, the writing is tired, cliched and pretty appalling, I think this is Woody Allen writing a story of how he would imagine London life to be, his overuse of words is awful as people sound like cliches from Jeeves and Wooster rather than modern people. At times the dialogue is so bad that a policeman will fully explain why he believes something happened in the most forced manner that it sounds like a school play.
The acting feels unnatural and the actors are clearly above this script, which makes for uncomfortable viewing at times, the excellent Emily Mortimer has to utter the most preposterous tosh at times and does so with her dignity intact thankfully.
The story itself does hold your attention and the dialogue is bearable through gritted teeth, but to hear Rhys Meyers keep using the phrase ´Í beg of you´ made my teeth ache, I watched this with some foreign friends and found the spanish subtitles actually gave a much more honest and modern interpretation of the dialogue, in English it is hilarious and almost like one of those silly old dubbed sketches.
Comedy this ain´t, the decision Chris has to make is probably close to Mr Allen´s heart with his own personal issues with a wife and lover and this personal project could possibly have been much better with a sharper tighter script, less words and more attention to detail.
It is silly and unrealistic and if the Police actually work the way Mr Allen suggests in this film then I would question what state we are in, thankfully they don´t and thankfully this is fiction of the silliest and unintentionally funniest kind.
I rented the DVD from Lovefilm and it is available for a fiver on Amazon. I would be really grateful to hear others opinions as I might be totally wrong here, but at times the film felt unrehearsed, the dialogue unnatural even in the poshest parts of Belgravia and the story beggars belief.
For me the best thing about the film was the music, it is classy, thoughtful and everything the film could have been (Don´t even get me started on the dream sequence near the end!!!)
I first heard of Match Point having Scarlett Johansson in and so I bought it to see if it was any good, and it was definitely a pleasant surprise.
~~~DVD BOX COVER DESIGN~~~
The DVD Cover is in black and white with Scarlett Johansson in front, mostly white, whilst Jonathon Rhys Meyers is in the back... it is quite a stylish cover, and doesn't give much away, whilst suited to the genre of the film. I think it definitely attracts and makes you intrigued as to what the film is about.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
The film follows the rise of former tennis player Chris Wilton into high society, torn between the love of one woman, and a lust for another... until his affair causes him to go to breaking point, and resulting in shocking consequences.
I really liked the plot and the slow build up to climax. The storyline is focussed and extremely well thought out. There are key themes that can be identified and as we watch the story progress, there are ups and downs for the affair which reflects a realistic representation of a man torn between two women, and the struggles and decisions he has to make.
Woody Allen does a great job in directing. At times, I feel like there is a bit too much panning and unnecessary scenes of insignificant action, which does make the film longer than it needs be and could be cut down to allow the climax to be reached much faster.
However, there is a great artistic style to the film and plays out like a modern tragedy. I really liked the ending, and the ideas of fate, luck and consequence all coming into it.
Scarlett Johansson- Nola Rice
Jonathon Rhys Meyers- Chris Wilton
Also features Brian Cox, Matthew Goode and Emily Mortimer.
I found Jonathon Rhys Meyers in the lead role really uninspiring. The acting was poor and he only managed to pull off two emotions- boredom and distraught. He did well in the final scenes being emotional and anxious... but all the times before, he was really flat and unexpressive.
Scarlett Johansson on the other hand was stunning and she was able to pull off a range of emotions being the emotional American actress she plays in the film. She is able to make every scene she is in believable and she definitely captured the attention throughout.
This DVD has no extra features, which is a shame, as it could do with some deleted scenes and perhaps a directors commentary or making of.
This DVD can be bought for around £2-3 online, which is great value for such a good film!
I really enjoyed the film and the subtle themes that are included, making this like a modern tragedy. The plot is focussed and does not confuse, and really captures your attention very quickly on. The cast is good, apart from Jonathon Rhys Meyers, who doesn't really pull his weight, but for all we know, is part of the character... Scarlett Johansson is amazing in this film, and you should watch it just for her! I would recommend it for teens and above as it does contain some sexual scenes, but overall, the film is super enjoyable and stylishly made.
'Match Point' was released in 2006 and written and directed by Woody Allen. He is more commonly known for his funny films, but even these will often explore the deepest philosophical issues of human existence. 'Match Point' is a completely serious drama, set amidst the wonderful urban scenery of central London.
Many of us are cynical about the existence of God these days, but Chris Wilton (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has thought this through to its ultimate, and disturbing conclusion. His opening line is "The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life". To Chris, life is a series of chances to be exploited for our personal gain, and there is no God to punish us for such selfishness, so we only need to worry about other people finding out. 'Match Point' is a story which serves to show us why some people actually think like this.
Chris is new to London and one of the first things he does is apply to the exclusive Queens Tennis Club, as he used to be a professional, plus of course it is full of very rich people. He is assigned an instructor called Tom Hewitt (Matthew Goode), who is terribly posh and handsome and when it turns out that they share a love of opera, as luck would have it, Tom's father has a box at the Royal Opera House and he gets an invite. He is also lucky enough that Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) has the hots for him. Even Tom's parents like him (Brian Cox and Penelope Winton who was Shaun's mum in Shaun of the Dead).
When Chris meets Tom's girlfriend Nola (played very sexily by Scarlett Johanssen) he develops the hots for her and they eventually embark on a passionate affair. She splits up from Tom and is now free but Chris has married Chloe, hugely motivated by the lucrative job opportunity her father has handed him on a plate. Chloe becomes desperate for a baby and is now demanding mechanical sex according to the clock, so naturally Chris becomes deeply involved with the passionate Nola. This is where his luck goes bad because he gets Nola pregnant instead of his wife, and her threat to expose him forces him to go to a new level. I won't give any more of the story away except to say that there are some twists and turns and it may not end how you might expect it to.
It is amusing to see the many cameos from well known actors and comedians. Paul Kaye, who had previously pissed Woody off by saying something offensive to him in his Dennis Pennis character, is great in his small part as an estate agent showing Chris a flat. Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton from 'The League of Gentleman', James Nesbitt and Ewan Bremner (Spud from 'Trainspotting') all put in an appearance. I have probably forgotten someone else.
The film starts off a bit slow, but the pace picks up and gets faster up until its climactic ending. There are times when you are not quite sure where the story is going to lead. The scenes with Johanssen and Meyers are extremely passionate, until she starts freaking out on him. On the whole the film is enjoyable and is considered by many to be one of Woody Allen's best. He clearly loves London and manages to casually include a lot of major London landmarks in the scenes, or a scene will have Cartier or the Ralph Lauren shop in the background. Most Londoners do not actually live like that, but it is good to dream! The soundtrack is opera, appropriately dramatic for the subject matter.
I was entertained throughout with this movie and it is definitely a lot better than most of the trash that comes out. Obviously if you want something light and fluffy then don't bother with 'Match Point', but I personally like the way he explores the deeper questions of life in his films. Chris Wilton is not a likeable character, but then narcissists never are once you have found out what is in their cold little hearts.
I stumbled across Match Point in the reduced section in Tesco and bought it for under £5. I took the film home, not expecting much from it. How wrong was I!
This film was directed by Woody Allen and is full of suspense and had a really good storyline. The basic storyline of the film was that a tennis pro Chris Wilson, who has just retired and become a tennis coach falls in love and marries one of his friend's sisters, Chloe. They then settle and meanwhile Chris decides to embark on an affair with his friend's ex, Nola. However something bad happens and Chris knows the affair may be revealed and so he makes a plan to sort out Nola and the affair!
The film was set and filmed in London and broke Woody Allen's string of box office flops. The cast are perfect, with each member of the cast bringing something to their particular characters, especially Jonathan Rhys Meyers who portrays the character of Chris Wilson very well.
Woody Allen's more recent works, particularly in the 00s, have been a lot weaker than his most memorable films like Sleeper, Manhattan and Annie Hall. Match Point, however, is a sure return to a form for the prolific director, who insistently releases a film at least once every year.
The story revolves around Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an upper class man who works as a tennis instructor in London. He becomes friends with a man named Tom Hewett, whose sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) takes quite the liking to him. However, soon enough, Chris meets Tom's fiance Nola Rice (Scarlett Johanssen), and is completely bessotted with her, embarking on an affair that has dire consequences for everyone involved.
Woody Allen's transatlantic voyage to the UK has apparently done him some good, because this is a fresh and exciting outing that's unlike anything he's done this decade. He's claimed on numerous occasions that Scarlett Johansson may very well be his "muse", and on the strength of the partnership on screen in Match Point, this seems to be the case. That isn't to diminish the efforts of the supporting cast either, though who, from Brian Cox to James Nesbitt, turn in superb performances.
It's a thematically conscious film that asserts the role of luck rather than goodness in the success of people, and supplants this onto its dark examination of the so often prim and proper upper class. It's all too apt considering how often British films about the upper classes are so often costume dramas with very lofty sets and costumes. This, rather, portrays the lavish establishments as cages, in which those therein must contain themselves and act a certain way. Chris, for instance, is the dark, thoroughly detestable lynch pin around which this theory percolates, until the film's shocking close that is disturbing but also distinctly Allen-esque.
Woody Allen casts a mindful eye over the upper class, examining its darker side through Jonathan Rhys Meyers's character of Chris Wilton, who may be one of the most thoroughly dislikeable screen characters of the decade. Match Point is an illuminating, often suspenseful drama that ranks among Allen's best work of the 00s.
'Match Point' was written and directed by Woody Allen (who does not feature here as an actor) and first released in 2005. The film is set in and around London and stars, amongst others, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew Goode, and Brian Cox. Match Point is a straight drama about obsession, guilt, class, and crimes, but most of all luck. At 124 minutes, this is longer than Allen's usual fare and has a lot of parallels with 1989's Crimes and Misdemenours, another Allen film full of existential angst and ruminations on goodness and luck in a morally ambiguous universe. Like Crimes and Misdemenours, Match Point is heavily inspired by Crime and Punishment. The central character in Match Point is Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), a shallow, but cunning, down on his luck former tennis pro now trying to make a living as a coach in London. The socially ambitious Chris latches onto privileged and cultured Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode) after coaching him and the pair strike up a friendship. Chris takes full advantage of this new social link and is soon an item with Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) and given a swanky new job by her businessman father Alec (Brian Cox). His perfect new life however is complicated by Tom's new fiancée Nola (Scarlett Johansson), a struggling American actress. Chris begins an affair with Nola, eventually leading to much chaos and turmoil. How far will Chris go to protect his secrets?
Woody Allen once commented that Match Point might be his very best film. While I think that might be a tad optimistic - Match Point is Tim Henman rather than Roger Federer, good by most standards but not great - the film is a modestly refreshing change of location and style for Allen. Match Point is the first Woody Allen film to be shot entirely outside of New York and the director seems mildly liberated by the chance to look at something new through his camera and break out of his rut of modest upscale New York comedies. Best of all, no one is required to impersonate Allen in his absence or wrestle with numerous Allen jokes. In fact, at times you almost forget this is a Woody Allen film at all with the London landmarks and mostly British cast. What is unmistakably Woody Allen though - aside from the classical music and minimalist title sequence - is the chilly and austere atmosphere. It is always interesting though to see the director (however much finances dictated) on unfamiliar territory and attempting something that seems to stand apart from his recent output.
Match Point's central question of luck and its role in the grand scheme of things inspires the opening of the film which presents a tennis ball frozen over a net as a metaphor: 'The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn't and you lose.' Clearly for Woody Allen, this is a fairly frightening proposition that he considers more likely than not. The film has a major plot twist and the ramifications will prove this theory.
Although it dispenses with the comedy elements of Crimes and Misdemenours and is a dramatic, not to mention sombre, film, Match Point seems a more sleekly superficial endeavor on the whole. It's a more nihilistic film, as if Allen has grown more pessimistic about everything since he last touched on these themes. The pouty Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is ok but cannot match Martin Landau's powerful performance as a man tormented by infidelity and guilt in Crimes and Misdemenours. Rhys-Meyers comes off as a more emotionless character, more of a blank. He's like the Jason Bourne of existential angst. What Rhys-Meyers does have is a handsome cruelty to his face plus a vague mystery and ambivalence that works quite well at times. Chris is a social-climber and we see him calculatingly adjusting his personality for his audience. He tells Tom what he wants to hear to become his friend and enter the Hewett's culturally rich and privileged world.
Emily Mortimer and Scarlett Johansson are both very good as Chloe and Nola. Chloe is dutiful and naive while the 'femme fatale' Nola is neurotic and more worldly. Johansson is a plus for the film when she appears ("Men always seem to wonder. They think I'd be something very special") and has some chemistry with Rhys-Meyers at least. Chloe is dull but assures his future whereas Nola is unstable but irresistible. Part of the attraction of Nola for Tom is that they are both outsiders in this world. Tom wants the security of life in the Hewett family and the illicit excitement of Nola. The tension between these two desires leads to the drama in Match Point. Allen is not Alfred Hitchcock but he does have a good grasp of story and manages to make Match Point an absorbing film at times with elements of suspense. Among the rest of the cast, Brian Cox and Penelope Wilton are both as dependable as usual as the Hewett matriarch and patriarch.
Although Match Point lacks the brooding darkness and depth of Crimes and Misdemenours, the dialogue is quite sharp at times and the story keeps you guessing. This is a restrained film for the most part but it does slip into melodrama, most notably in a scene where Tom and Nola fumble in a wheat field during a rainstorm. Allen gets away with this scene simply by making it look so striking. The wealth of the Hewetts is convincingly portrayed in the film and reminds us of conflict brewing in Chris as he contemplates security versus excitement. Allen also makes good use of London locations like the Royal Opera House and the Tate Modern. This is a mostly opulent, glossy depiction of Britain illustrated by a clever series of cuts to a lavish penthouse which conveys changed circumstances in a stylish and understated way. Granted, the film is about a Ripley type character worming his way into a wealthy family, but this a somewhat 'heritage', twee version of Britain where most people are gratingly posh. In fairness, we should remember that Allen's general depiction of New York is a romantic and cinematic one also that has never been too rooted in reality.
The film is certainly stylish at times though and makes very good use of the operas "La Traviata" and "Rigoletto", which helped inspire the story and are used for pieces of music in the film, adding to the drama.
Overall, Match Point is not your typical Woody Allen film and in this case that isn't such a bad thing. While the film has a slightly artificial feel, is no masterpiece, and lacks a stunning central performance, it is consistently interesting and draws you into the deepening dilemma faced by the central character.
Not perfect but entertaining nonetheless.
So what's the story? Well, it's a bland one. Chris Wilton is an ex-professional tennis player who teaches people how to play in some exclusive tennis club in London. Here he runs into Tom Hewett a wealthy young toff. They bond over a mutual love for opera and become good friends. Chris is bowled over by Tom's beautiful fiancée, Nola Rice, but as she's taken he goes for Tom's brother instead. This opens up massive career opportunities for him as her father is rich and in charge of some company but he starts to have an affair with Nola Rice and who wouldn't.
That's it, that's your story. Woody Allen has taken a standard and constantly recycled soap-opera plot and apparently made his best film out of it (so he claims). The first and most striking disgusting feature of this film is it's upper-class setting. They're all so artsy-fartsy and sickeningly pleasant and well-spoken. They're a group of people who seem to do nothing but go to the theatre and opera. I'm not an opera fan, I can see why people like it but it's not for me and I honestly can't imagine many young men in their twenties loving opera and striking up great friendships based on opera.
The story itself, as I said, was pretty much your standard love affair story that Eastenders and Coronation Street will spill out several of this year alone. Nola wants Chris to leave his wife but he won't but he still wants to keep the affair going with Nola. The thing is though, it just lacks any entertainment value. It's this love-affair drama but it lacks romance, it lacks excitement or suspense and surprisingly it is completely devoid of even a hint of humour despite being made by comedian. It's just this dull story with uninteresting characters, none of which are the least bit likeable.
I can't believe it got nominated for Best Original Screenplay. IT IS NOT ORIGINAL. I've seen stories like this all over the place. Looking at 2005's other nominations it didn't look too great of a year but still. Haven't the Academy seen any soaps? Match Point isn't the world's first love triangle story.
Chris Wilton is meant to be from Ireland in the film as Jonathon Rhys-Meyers who portrays him actually is but through-out he has this posh English accent and if it weren't for Tom nicknaming "Irish" occasionally you wouldn't know. He's from Cork, I've been to Cork and last year I shared a flat with a guy from Cork and no-one there talks like that. As far as acting goes I suppose he was the best of the bunch but this could just be down to the fact that he gets the most screen time. The film is such a limp tale that it requires no special acting exertion anyway. His quite famous for his role as Henry VIII in The Tudors as well as a couple of other things. After seeing him this alone I'm in no rush to go see anything else starring Jonathon Rhys-Meyers.
I often complain about talent less actresses getting roles based on their looks and people going to see films just because of celebrity faces rather than how good the film actually is. Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba are two examples of completely talentless people who get roles solely because they look good and people like them for that reason. But I'm a bit of a hypocrite in that anything with Scarlett Johansson or Monica Bellucci is worth a watch in my book. Not to say she's not a capable actress but she is very easy on the eye. Her performance is adequate as is everyone elses but she adds that bit more by looking extremely fine. It's hard not to be adequate in this dull film. Emily Mortimer is an annoying gangly cow who never leaves her husband alone. Her brother Tom played by Matthew Goode is so posh it causes you mental anguish and you just want to stand him with a fork and there are a few other people playing so utterly up their own ass characters it's unbearable to watch.
There are a few other famous faces making appearances: Ewen Bremner, James Nesbitt and Steve Pemberton all appear as detectives; Alexander Armstrong appears the owner of the tennis club; Brian Cox is father of the Hewet family and Paul Kaye (Dennis Pennis) appears as the estate agent.
Despite his dreary story Allen has done an excellent job in directing the film. It looks great. London is depicted as this sunny, ornate, modern city and everything looks very chic. But the thing is, no mount of presentation can save this. It's just boring. It's been praised by critics due to its thematic content. It tells a tale of the victory of luck over virtue and has a nihilistic "moral". Which, okay, I can see but only at the bloody end. And even then it just doesn't seem to be all that important. Did we just watch 2 hours of bland acting in a dull banal story for 15 minutes of at the end where we get some glimmer of the directors intent? Why weren't themes present throughout? Even at the end they didn't seem all that important. Chris' success isn't all down to luck. It's down to him screwing the bosses daughter until he gets a good job. Barry Lyndon is all luck over virtue and I suppose has touches of nihilism and it's actually entertaining and an amazing film and doesn't leave the thematic unveiling until the end. It's also incidentally has an Irish expatriate as a main character. Much better film. Watch Barry Lyndon instead.
The music in the film consisted of some old crackly opera music which was a good choice by Allen and as I say as far as production value and overall presentation of the film is concerned it was well done.
I would not recommend this film at all. I found it dull with a story that really wasn't all that original or interesting. It may appeal to women more but I doubt even that as there are better films. It's too upper-class, it lacks realism and humanity and it just seems, like its characters, really pretentious. This is the second Woody Allen film I've seen and it has really put me off him, I'm mosey on and check out a few more of his films at some point but this was definitely a low for him in my eyes. I'm amazed it gets so much critical praise and done so well at the box-office. What exactly did people like about it?
There were no DVD extras, only a few trailers at the beginning. One was for Romance and Cigarettes and I want to see that now. My copy cost £3 in HMV and it wasn't worth it.
Match Point was a Woody Allen film that came out in 2005 and I'd say it was definitely a good effort, a big return to form when compared to the rather mediocre Celebrity for instance. Match Point features Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Chris Wilton - a slightly ponsy middle/upper class former tennis player who never really achieved much but has no problem landing a job as a tennis coach.
He ends up meeting a nice yet relatively boring woman (Chloe) who he loves dearly, her father (Brian) is insanely wealthy and offers him a job.. everything is seemingly there for him on a plate but he finds himself falling for Chloe's brothers fiance (Nola) who is a bit of an outcast in the family due to not being of wealthy origin and not achieving much as an unsuccesful American actress. Whilst Chloe is pushing marriage and children, Chris is looking for a bit of how's your father.
With Chris seemingly living two lives, you wonder what he's going to choose eventually and the film is always on the edge with the excitement of a mischevious soap opera star about to get caught doing the dirty deed. The British actors in this film do an awesome job and the filming around London including the Tate Art Gallery, The Royal Opera House and the Palace Theatre makes the city look majestic.
There is a bit of stuffyness eminating from Brian's part in particular and as irritating as it is, it seems an essential part of the character. Scarlet Johansson wins the day though for her confident and sexy performance whilst Jonathan Rhys Meyes is also pretty creepy, in particular towards the end when there is an enormous twist to the film.
My reason for purchasing Match Point in the first instance was quite simple, Jonathon Rhys Myers was in it and for me that was as good an excuse as any to buy a new film. I'm so glad however that I did buy this film because not only does Rhys Myers play a fantastic part and look extremely handsome for the main but the film has become a firm favourite of mine.
Chris (Jonathon Rhys Meyers) is an Irish tennis coach who after coaching Tom, the son of a very affluent businessman, manages to get well in with his very wealthy family. In doing so he attracts the attention of the daughter in the family Chloe (Emily Mortimer), Tom's sister and suddenly everything seems to be heading in the right direction for once. Chloe is very soon his wife and her father has found him a top position in a very prominent and successful business that he owns but everything isn't quite as cosy as it seems as Chris is soon faced with a dilemma.
He finds himself torn between his wife and everything that comes along with her and the very beautiful but struggling American actress Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson) who used to be the fiancée of Chloe's brother. Nola is pressurising him to spend more and more time with her and eventually becomes adamant he should leave her but this would mean admitting their long-running affair and giving up everything he has ever wanted. Meanwhile Chloe is desperate for a child and as she increases the pressure on Chris to make her pregnant Nola increases hers. Chris must make a decision and he must make it fast before his whole world unravels. Either way he must soon admit the consequences of ambition.
The storyline in this film may seem quite a common one and at first I was under that impression too but do not be fooled into thinking this as this is definitely not the case. The storyline is at times tense and extremely unpredictable. It is this factor that changes the film from just being your average and relatively predictable chick-flick to being a film in which the second you believe you know what will happen and how the tale will end something else will occur and throw your theory right out of the window.
"There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can go either forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn't and you lose."
This line sums up the double-edged sword that the film is, as on more than one occasion the ball may go forward and Chris may uphold the life he has dreamed of but just as easily it may fall backwards and the world he has come to love may come tumbling down around him.
To top things off the acting is brilliant on all counts with the characters complimenting and contrasting each other on many an occasion. The music is also very well placed and builds up or deflates tension and the precise moment it is needed. Better still the music does not give away what is about to happen as so often happens in many films.
Now I have heaped praise on this film so far and many people may disagree with me but to be perfectly honest I cannot find a real fault with the film. Had the storyline gone the way I originally thought it would then I would not be rating the film so highly but the twists in the film provide for interesting and entertaining viewing and therefore I believe my rating is fully justified.
Minor Tennis legend Chris Wilton arrives in London; with finances rather thin on the ground he quickly manages to find himself work as a tennis coach at Wimbledon. It's during this tutorage that Chris meets Tom. One day after a game of tennis the two share a drink and discuss a love of opera. Tom invites Chris to the opera that very evening with his family. A little reluctant Chris accepts the kind gesture; and soon becomes a family friend.
For one member of Tom's Family, his sister Chloe; Chris has had a far more lasting impression. Chris and Chloe strike up a friendship that soon develops further into romance. But Chris has a secret; he has become fixated with Tom's fiancé American actress Nola Rice.
During one rainy summer's day in the country Chris and Nola make love in the rain. Although Chris assumes that more is to come, Nola makes it very clear that once was enough. Chris decides that its best to wipe Nola from his mind and having been groomed to be a husband for Chloe by her family the extremely wealthy Hewitts, Chris quickly falls into marriage.
Some time later after Nola and Tom have separated and Chris is settled into marriage with Chloe a chance encounter for Chris with Nola at the Saatchi gallery turns into a torrid affair.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers .... Chris Wilton (as Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
Alexander Armstrong .... Mr. Townsend
Paul Kaye .... Estate Agent
Matthew Goode .... Tom Hewett
Brian Cox .... Alec Hewett
Penelope Wilton .... Eleanor Hewett
Emily Mortimer .... Chloe Hewett Wilton
Mark Gatiss .... Ping-Pong Player
Scarlett Johansson .... Nola Rice
Simon Kunz .... Rod Carver
Geoffrey Streatfield .... Alan Sinclair
Mary Hegarty .... 'Rigoletto' Performer
Rupert Penry-Jones .... Henry
Steve Pemberton .... Detective Parry
Ewen Bremner .... Inspector Dowd
James Nesbitt .... Detective Banner
Match Point was a real change of contrast for its director Woody Allen; although the 70 year old director had touched on both the thriller an the romance element he had never blended the two together with such mastery. Not only that there is quite a high level of eroticism about the movie which has never been so cleverly exposes in a Woody Allen movie. Set rather unusually for a Woody Allen movie in London Match Point came under serious critical scrutiny. British reviewers stated "Allen does not understand the British class system" and "The British class system is not like that". But the annoying thing is while yes the people involved are generally well off the movie has little to do about affluence and furthermore the wealth shown in this movie is not the standard wealth associated with British classes; this family has so much money that few people with the exception of the Royal family has; so with this in mind how on earth would any critic know what that sort of class lives like? But it's quite typical of the big British reviewers to knock holes in something simply for the sake of it. Which in my opinion is the case with Match Point.
The real nice touch about the movie is that with the exception of Chloe and her parents nobody is particularly likeable. From the mint Jonathan Rhys Meyers ponces in you know he is a snide little sod who needs a slap. The character of Tom is just a spoiled little rich kid who needs to learn how to live on the basic minimum wage for a week. And this leads us with our other lead character of Nola (Scarlet Johansson) who starts the movie a failed actress who is completely up front and fearless who turns into a shop girl who becomes downtrodden, possessive and utterly wretched. That being said you want everyone in the movie to get on because its such a fantastic tale.
The grooming of Chris is particularly well handled as soon as Chloe expresses an interest in Chris he is gently lured into the inner circle. Chris starts off at a lower job in the financial district, slowly progressing and studying for several qualifications including an MBA; finally Chris reaches the top of his game having his own chauffeur driven car. But the beauty about this progression gives you a great look at the time frame involved in this tale; you're literally talking years which adds a real clarity and realism to the structure of the tale. You can actually envisage and in fact from reading the press understand that this level of grooming is actually something that really takes place. And if you sit back and have a think about it, I can think of very few movies that actually show you the routine of grooming other than for sexual purposes.
The short bursts of passion are highly charged but really beautifully tackled. It shows a real romance and passion between Chris and Nola where as the relationship with Chris and Chloe is more mechanical. There are very few sexually charged movies around nowadays it seems that this particular area was forgotten about in the 1990's. I must point out that you see nothing, no real contact at all. But the way that Allen has filmed the love making might make you believe you have seen more than you actually have. In one scene while Nola and Tom (whom are still together) are at a party they decide to go off to have sex; there is something very real about this seen, its not too movie style. When I say that I'm sure some of you will agree that when you see sex on a movie between a new or recent couple its never actually like it appears on screen. Allen is clever to make sure that you don't get that feeling, everything remains very real. Having sidelined slightly and going back to the aforementioned scene before Nola and Tom get down to the nitty gritty you see Chris positioning himself in a vantage point having discovered the two, obviously wanting to see what's going on. For some this is the first real pointer that you get indicating that Chris is not quite right.
Match Point is like two movies in one; the movie with a runtime of about two hours is split exactly don the middle to create two very different vibes. Movie one is a tale of grooming and romance; while the money has wooed Chris he is in love with Nola and its pretty obvious she is in love with him too. In movie two it's the story of betrayal, obsession and terror; as Nola becomes obsessed with Chris his obsession with her fails and when she applies pressure to an already pressurised situation and practically stalks him like the Glen Close character from Fatal Attraction. It's at this point that the true romance you felt at the beginning of the movie is going to turn into something far, far darker. The one consistent thought you have through the whole movie has to be "Poor Chloe".
I have always had a bit of a soft spot for a Woody Allen movie; in his movies it's seldom that anyone gets killed, the language is controlled and there is always a strong message to the story and a happy ending. Match Point is NOTHING like any other Woody Allen movie, and if it were not for the start and end titles you really would not know it had anything to do with him. I applaud Allen for his fantastic direction of this movie; which has become by far my favourite Woody Allen movie. And without a doubt the best romantic thriller I have ever seen.
I've never been so bored and irritated at any one time, as when I was watching this film, how it was nominated for golden globes is completely beyond me.
Rhys-Myers plays Chris, an Irish boy who has come over to England to teach tennis, and picked up a painfully bad accent in the process. He struggles to keep speaking in the 'upper-class' accent that he's been asked to use, and this makes his character even more unbelievable.
Chris coaches a guy, Tom, for one lesson, they become best friends and he marries the guy's sister, whilst sleeping with his fiancé. He sounds like a jerk doesn't he? Yes, well Tom is cheating on his fiancé (Scarlet J) and has got his mistress pregnant. The parents disapprove of all of the relationships, quite unsurprisingly.
This plotline has the potential to be explosive, showing the emotional reactions of both sides and making the audience truly town between who they feel sorry for, and who they want to get together. Sadly nothing like this happened. The main focus was on the affair, always showing Chris to be bored with his wife, which makes it even more unbelievable that he would choose her over Scarlet.
The film is dragged out for a painful two hours, of drunken fumbles, everyone getting pregnant, but no real emotion ever being shown. There are no angry fight, as his wife never finds out about the affair, because Chris manages to get away with murder, quite literally.
The film doesn't stretch any bounderies, it starts slow, the charaters don't get developped enough, so it's not possible to feel any emotion when the credits start rolling in.
Incidentally the ending sucks, it leaves hundreds of loose-ends, which could easily have been tied up and made for a far more shocking and memorable film.
The underlying theme of luck, which gets about 2 mentions in the entire film could equally have been extended or emphasised more, it was left looking like filler as opposed to a message. And trust me, this film lacks any sort of message.
Don't waste your money on it, if you want a good film about adultery and the devastating emotional effects it has on an array of people, watch The Last Kiss with Zach Braff, a film which is so brutally real that you can't help but lose yourself in it.
Woddy Allen is an amazing writer, and in this film you can see why.
It follows the life of a Tennis pro, who became bored and decided to get out and went on to teach the sport at a London country club. This is where he meets his new best friend, his to wife to be, and the woman he has an affair with.
Its all rather clever, with some great performances. However i found that the main character is one, who i did not like what so ever. He goes about having this affair in the most pathetic of ways, promising that he'll leave his wife everyday. Scarlet Johanson who plays the women he has an affair with is equally annoying believing all his lies. This aside its makes one compelling film that was an enjoyable film to watch.
The soundtrack is something i most enjoyed, with opera playing in time to the events, and always on what sounds like an old record player. This seems like it would be out of place in such a film, but it fits perfectly.
There is the theme of luck playing constantly through the film, and how much of the outcome of everyones lives depended on it. I found that this adds to the whole experience, and makes it one of those films that just make you think.
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