Monday, November 18, 2013

Match Point - Movie Review

This one was another Woody Allen that was very different - save the twist and the irony and the poetic justice (is there anything else?). Yes, the humour is missing, and it is dark. Murder, my friend, is here, and cold blooded at that.

Young American tennis coach (Jonathan Rhys) in London meets rich boy who trains with him. Coach falls in love with rich boy's sister (or rather, vice versa). Then coach realises that rich boy has a bombshell of a girlfriend, an aspiring actress (Scarlett Johansson), for whom he lusts and she reciprocates. Coach marries rich girl and gets into the gilded cage but also manages to get into an affair with actress girlfriend whom the rich family does not like anyway. Affair picks up after the rich boy dumps the actress for someone else but here's the catch - actress gets pregnant by coach and wants marriage. Actress wants him to dump his wife and starts getting too pokey and domineering for tennis coach's comfort. So he takes a gun and shoots her off and her landlady making it all appear like a drug related robbery cum murder. The cops come this close to nailing him especially since it all seems to fall in place - affair, gun, etc. But here comes the twist, one of the rings that coach steals from the old lady and throws in the river hits the railing and falls outside on the pavement where it is picked up by a serial drug addict cum offender who is dead with the ring in his pocket. Case closed.

The twist, the closing of the movie without the logical end i.e. coach getting caught, the fateful hitting of the ring on the railing and falling on the road (compared to a ball hitting the top of the net and stopping where it could have fallen wither way) are all interesting. But too much darkness, too much goes on before we get to that point. They are normal common people and the one reason why coach does not get caught in the end appears to be that he has somehow suppressed his guilt (as he confesses to the apparitions of the dead women) and thereby avoids punishment. One would think that Woody stopped the movie a while before it should have ended - with coach in jail. Is it something in his life that bothered him one would never know but guilt and punishment is a strong theme. The one scene that had me is the one where coach throws the ring and it hits the railing and rises into the air, before it decides to fall on the road and not the river.

Why did Woody shoot a movie in London? Apparently he did not find finding for it in New York where he had originally set the movie. After finding funding in London he rewrote the script and shot it in London with a largely English cast.

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