Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Match Point. Game. Set and Match!

Match Point (written and directed by Woody Allen): Rating 10/10

I really want to say ‘I can’t believe this is a Woody Allen’ movie, but I can’t make such a statement because I have only seen a handful of his movies. And those were not even the best of his work, judging from what I have read. For some strange reason, despite all his previous duds, I was still eagerly waiting to see this movie though. And I had to wait a long time (almost 2 months) because my city only got this movie this past Friday. Was the wait worth it? A big Yes! This is a vintage movie. That being said, the movie requires patience. Because there is a lot of dialogue wrapped around a simple story. What is the story then? A Love story? Yes, in some ways. But I like to think of the story as being about greed. Yes there is passion thrown in there as well. And the movie does explore the differences between love and lust along the way but in the end, the only question that matters is how important is greed? Is it more important than love? Is it more powerful than a lustful blond bombshell? Ofcourse, a little luck goes a long way in ensuring that the means to greed are not blocked. I am not going to bother talking about the story because I walked into the movie not knowing the story. The only thing I will say is that the story is not that original as the idea was tackled a few years back in The Talented Mr. Ripley but this movie handles the question of greed a wee bit subtly. The acting is quite good and the screenplay is excellent. One comment about all the characters in the movie -- none of them are portrayed to be good people and are corrupt on some level. At no point does it seem that we are watching sweet innocent people. All the characters are calculating things for their own good and at times are not afraid to openly admit their needs.

Since Match Point is shot entirely in London with mostly British actors and British money (BBC) but directed by an American, the movie was going to be intensely scrutinized by the British critics. And from what I have read, they despised the movie. Their arguments are valid in a way – they felt the dialogues are poor, the British characters stereotypical, a lot of the well known Brit actors are wasted and the locales are very touristy. But since I am not British, I overlooked a lot of their problems. This may be an American’s simplification of a British landscape but given the story, it didn’t matter. The story could have been set in New York just as easily. Yes the dialogue is not as sophisticated as some British dramas but it was never meant to be. Given the context of the movie, the dialogue the characters speak does not have to be intelligent, it has to be convincing enough for them to satisfy their needs. And in some cases, those words are cold and sparse but those are all the words they need!

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