A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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MATCH POINT
2005 - Woody Allen - United Kingdom / United States
48

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Match Point opens with a shot of a tennis ball going over the net and we hear a voice over narration: “The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are often afraid to realize how much of an impact luck plays. There are moments in a tennis match where the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, remains in mid-air. With a little luck, the ball goes over, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.” The philosophy of this opening is prominently examined throughout the film and the open shot is again reflected towards the end except that it is a shot of a ring that stands as critical evidence in a murder/burglary case. What Woody Allen does with this development is fascinatingly clever and adds another dimension to the complex philosophy of this film. I’ve seen this film quite a few times and must say it belongs mention among Annie Hall, Husbands and Wives, Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters as Allen’s best work. The tone here is much more serious (and British) then Allen is known for, making Match Point at the surface unlike anything he has ever done. While it is a different, Match Point still evokes Allen auteur themes and style. Much of this recalls Crimes and Misdemeanors, as well as nods to George Stevens 1951 A Place in the Sun. However, this is a film that surpasses both of those because of the metaphysical depth as well as the sheer mastery of narrative plotting. Blending suspense and sexy eroticism, Match Point is flawlessly made in the traditions of classic genre filmmaking (easily recalling the best of the Hitchcockian style). The performances by the entire ensemble (Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox) is top notch and Allen’s films never lack great cinematography and music. There is certainly a cynical tone, yet Allen absorbs us into the philosophical layers of the themes and characters as well as the elegant and sophisticated atmosphere.
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