Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Forgotten Movies: MATCH POINT


Woody Allen's 2005 film set in London is not forgotten, but I remembered it as much stronger than it was on a second viewing. I always find Woody's attempts to capture milieus outside of his own New Yorkers a bit painful to watch. He has way too much reverence for the rich in this film and little sympathy for the struggling working class. Scarlett Johansson's temptress gets little sympathy, for instance. Despite being dumped by the rich boy (Matthew Goode), we are offered a sympathetic view of his motivations rather than her position. And his sister's (Emily Mortimer: too perfect to be likable or interesting) sole interest is in producing children.

Allowing Rhys Davis to get away with his ridiculous and crackpot scheme seems like a bad idea too. The audience is not rooting for him at all.Although I believe Allen is.

I understand the film is examining the notion of luck but it just didn't work for me. It took too long getting to where it was going. Too many scenes of the rich frolicking, drinking, dining. The best plot points were borrowed from AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY and the worst from other Allen films.

What movie did you initially like and change your mind about?


George said...

I liked THE LONG GOOD-BYE when I first saw it, but each time I see it, I like it a little less. It's not Bruce Lee's fault that his role is incomprehensible.

Di said...

I don't think Woody Allen "roots for" Chris Wilton or Tom Hewett, as you say, at all. Neither does he have "reverence for the rich in this film and little sympathy for the struggling working class".
I see Match Point as a kind of Crime and no Punishment; in both cases there's not enough evidence to arrest and convict the murderer, the main punishment is of course not the punishment of the law, but the struggle of conscience, which is the point of Dostoyevsky's novel, and Woody Allen's playing with the idea of a person who commits a similar crime, without that mental/ spiritual struggle, who then gets away with it.
The audience don't sympathise with Chris and Tom, but they aren't meant to be. Nothing happens to them, but that's the point Woody Allen apparently wants to make- that is life, there's nothing like a happy ending where virtuous people are rewarded and vicious people get punished, and lots of selfish people do bad/ wrong things to others and suffer nothing.

Ron Scheer said...

Movies made by the privileged (e.g., celebrities blessed by fame and fortune) can have such a hollow ring. Diane Keaton does that for me.

Di said...

Correct: "they aren't meant to".
Anyway, the point is, Woody Allen chooses an objective stance in this film. Letting the bad characters "win" doesn't mean that he's on their side. That's not how art is.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I really disagree with you about Woody taking an objective stance. His films are filled with a mockery of working class people. If they don't have a strange voice or a strange house,or dress strangely, they are up to no good or foolish things. And the rich get away with it all.

Di said...

Well, I'm talking about this film only.
I find your perception of Match Point incomprehensible, but if you seriously think so, that the ending means "the rich get away with it all" and that Woody Allen sympathises with them, I have no more to say.

Deb said...

IMHO, The moral tone of this movie is shocking. I think, whether he intended to or not, Woody Allen frames this film so that he expects us to root for the murderer to get away with the crime. All those long, panning shots of the riverfront and the glorious homes built on them. The working-class woman is utterly disposable. Blech! In addition to which (if I needed another reason to hate it), it fails utterly as a police procedural. If you're going to make a movie in that vein, do yourself a favor and read/watch a few before you proceed.

Di said...

I have said earlier that it's pointless to write more.
However, I must note that I didn't root for Chris to get away with the crime, and can't say who would. This way of thinking is like saying that because Anna Karenina commits suicide in the end, that means Tolstoy hates her and punishes her, and because nothing happens to Oblonsky, that means Tolstoy condones Oblonsky's adultery while condemning Anna's, and that means Tolstoy's a misogynist. Which is ridiculous.
If there's anything I may agree with in the comment above, it may be the bit about the police procedural. But, perhaps I'm a cynic, I just don't think that the police thoroughly and carefully examine every single murder case, and the staged murder looks convincing enough, like an ordinary robbery. It's just luck, you say. But, as I've written above, I see this as a kind of Crime and no Punishment. The police don't have enough evidence, the law can't impose the punishment- what about conscience? Nothing happens. Why? God is dead. Religion is dead. Woody Allen's playing with Dostoyevsky's ideas, and through his film, having a debate with him.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I see your points. Thanks!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Deb-we are on the same page and I don't know how I missed all the problems the first time. Him toting a shotgun around was laughable. And killing that old lady was the most shocking thing I've seen in a movie in a long time. He must be punished, luck or not.