This may be some form of sacrilege, but I’ve never seen a Woody Allen film. Never. I don’t even think I’ve ever watched ten minutes of one. So why did I decide to check out Match Point? Simple. I’ve never seen a Woody Allen film.
Full of tension and immoral behavior, Match Point was an exercise in discomfort. The story is about a former professional tennis player turned instructor, named Chris, who eases his way into a rich family after Chloe, the daughter in the family, falls for him. However, he soon finds himself lusting after the rich family’s son’s fiancé, named Nola, and becomes obsessed with her. He marries Chloe before the son, Tom, unexpectedly breaks it off with Nola. Our tennis player now feels he has every right to pursue a relationship with Nola, despite the fact that he is now married to Chloe who desperately wants a baby. From there the suspense ensues, and while this film was wrought with predictability, it also had some nice moments of genuine surprise.
One thing that bothered me is that some say it’s a story of a man who gets involved in the darker side of high society. No, that’s not true at all. It’s the normal man who is the villain here. He is the one turning his back on his wife and pursing an extra-marital relationship. The rich family is quite helpful and pleasant throughout for the most part. I believe this is a story of how anyone can become a monster when they let their lust and envy control their actions.
Match Point was far too long, coming in at just over two hours. It easily could have been trimmed back. There were moments of just waiting for something substantial to occur.
The acting was adequate, though not terribly charismatic. Of the two main characters, Scarlet Johansson, who plays Nola, is satisfactory but Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, who plays Chris, seems like a Jude Law clone in terms of demeanor. I actually got confused as to whether I should be rooting for or against Rhy-Meyers’ character. He was sometimes quite likable and at other times smarmy, and at still other times overtly nefarious. As far as the rest of the cast, I actually enjoyed all of the minor characters far more than the two stars.
Overall, the ending of the film is quite engrossing, but the rest of the film sort of plods along. As I said, there is tension throughout, not because of a suspenseful storyline, but more because it just made me uncomfortable to watch a man flirt with ruining an innocent family over his own base desires.
Is this a typical Woody Allen film? I have no idea. Not terrible, but not much beyond being just good.