I’ve watched a few (mainly mediocre) films recently, but one that caught my eye was Match Point. Actually this is a lie, Woody Allen caught my attention. The film received a lot of buzz stateside, but wasn’t so well received in europe. Its worth comparing for example, Bradshaw’s review with that of Ebert.
Unfortunately I’m more inclined to align myself with Bradshaw’s opinion of the film. Its necessary at this point to echo his desire for a new period of brilliant Allen cinema, I really enjoyed the various Allen films I’ve seen, most notably Annie hall, Manhatten, Hannah and her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors. The big difference between them and Match Point is that the former stand out at the viewer with their stylish dialogue and complementary look. Allen used to be a small scale experimentalist, sometimes this worked (opening sequence of Manhatten) sometimes this didn’t (John Carradine’s dialogue from EYAW2KAS). Either way it was unique, of interest to the viewer, and most importantly endearing.
It was a strong film, well acted, good characterisation etc. But one has to expect more of Woody Allen, especially in the dialogue department. In his classic films he managed to produce ‘overly-clever’ conversations without causing one to question the believability of the characters involved. Part of this comes down to his well calculated ‘artist uber-nerd’ image, but equally important was that the viewer was so interested in the phrase that had just been uttered that they didn’t have time to consider whether it was viable for a normal person to perform the uttering. The idea that there is more luck in people’s lives than we are willing to admit is frankly tedious and unimaginative, even if it may contain more than a grain of truth.
I remain optimistic that we will see another great Woody Allen film, but this is probably more a hope than an expectation.