Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton, James Nesbitt
Director: Woody Allen
Screenplay: Woody Allen
Rated: M moderate themes, moderate sex scenes, moderate violence
Running Time: 124 Minutes
Passion Temptation Obsession
A one-time tennis pro, Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) was used to falling just short in his life. But when he befriends Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode) and marries his sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer), the doors are opened to the kind of money and success that Chris had once only dreamed of having. Chris should have settled for happiness, but he is torn by his attraction to Tom's impossibly beautiful and alluring fiancée, Nola (Scarlett Johansson). The attraction turns to an obsession that forces Chris to make a critical choice. Now everything in his life hinges on whether or not Chris falls short again
and if his luck runs out.
Ex-tennis pro Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) lands a job as a tennis coach at an exclusive club in London. Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode) is one of Chris' clients, and he soon becomes involved in the lives of the wealthy Hewett family, including Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) who becomes smitten with Chris. Tom has a fiancé, Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), and when Chris and Nola first lay eyes on one another, the passion and lust just about bursts from the screen. Before long, Chris' obsession with Nola soon interferes with his relationship with Chloe leading to an almighty climax that will shock even Chris.
'Match Point' is the first movie that writer/director Woody Allen has made outside the USA, using London for what is a departure from his usual wry and comedy loaded movies. This is a drama with a thriller element that Allen delivers with such precision and confidence, all the while gently unfolding a story of lust, passion, and betrayal and ultimately of luck playing a part in life.
There is something about Jonathan Rhys Meyers that he uses so well to portray a man with a hidden agenda. As Chris Wilton, it is almost as if he is just using the people around him, yet he never lets his guard down and is one cool customer. He has great chemistry opposite Scarlett Johansson who, as the femme fatale of the narrative, exudes sex appeal from every possible angle and is just so seductive. The dialogue between the two is incredibly clever yet also very conceivable. Allen makes his characters so easily identifiable and familiar to the viewer and develops them so well, which makes them so easy to watch in an almost voyeuristic manner.
Unlike previous Allen films, the musical score is opera based and not his usual jazz, which is another change he's made to his filmmaking repertoire and in this case it works exceedingly well. As the tragedy of the characters begins to emerge, so too does the score, continuously complementing the story.
'Match Point' is not your average Woody Allen movie, so it may come as a surprise when Allen reveals a few twists in the final act. Cleverly using an increasing level of suspense in this latter part of the movie is a great move on Allen's part, slowly sucking the viewer in to what becomes an intense and emotional story of the implications of greed, wealth, seduction, love, lust and...luck.
Rating : **** ½