PAST POPCORN: Match Point (A)

Match PointThe 2005 drama-suspense flick Match Point is a sharp and skillful entry into Woody Allen’s already extensive film career and shows a darker and more enigmatic side to the usually quirky film auteur. Both highly philosophical and brilliantly entertaining, the film processes it’s two and a half hour running time in electric fashion, throwing in a mix of wit, tension and all-around cinematic magnificence in this 5-set thriller.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, mostly known for his turn as Elvis Presley in the CBS miniseries Elvis, gives a charming and charismatic performance as the sly and very deceitful tennis instructor Chris Wilton. After being embraced by the family of the very well-to-do Chloe Hewett, portrayed sweetly and innocently by the very consistent Emily Mortimer, he is thrust into a highly sexual affair with his brother-in-law’s fiancee Nola, played by Allen regular Scarlett Johannson. A game of cat and mouse and a lot of luck then erupts.

Meyers, Mortimer and Johansson are three essential parts to the pitch-perfect ensemble rounded out by Brian Cox (X-Men 2, The Bourne Trilogy) and Matthew Goode (Watchmen). Of equal impeccability is Allen’s camera work, which does miracles to breathe London to life.

Of course what stands out most is the Big Apple-bred’s construction of his sophisticated morality tale, drawing largely from social class theories and marriage politics. From his vibrant screenplay Allen plays with the themes of infidelity and greed, and in particular the concept of chance, and much like how his personal philosophies emanate in his other films, most recently in the Oscar-winning Vicky Cristina Barcelona, he constantly surprises and ultimately impresses his audience with his atypical perspectives on life.

His Oscar-nominated Match Point is only a reminder that the 73 year old director is still in his prime; it’s like an affair – it’s juicy and it’s a guilty pleasure watching all hell break loose in a relationship.

Quite the opposite in terms of content and style to another similarly tennis-themed film entitled Wimbledon, Match Point doubles the pleasure and intellect and singles out any possible melodrama, serving up a game, set and win for Woody Allen and company.

Yes, all horrible tennis puns intended.

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