Larry King recently returned from watching Woody Allen’s Whatever Works and twittered that it was Allen’s best work so far. Almost every time someone sees his good movies, they would be tempted to say this is his best. But then I’ve derived to this thought that Woody Allen is a creator whose best might never come or would end up creating a series of ‘nearly his best works’. He was recently in news again for winning a law-suit settlement and making more money than a box office hit. Okie, now I should start talking about one of his movies in the next line or two.
When you watch Match Point, you’ve two things in mind. ‘It is brilliant.’ and ‘It is too long.’ But when you think back to what all could have been cut or chopped off, there is hardly anything you can think of. Match Point deviates from a regular Woody movie. It is not his regular film with quirky creative characters. Match Point is about cunning selfish characters. All of them have a personal motif and all of them almost succeed in that. The setting and the British society with a few outsiders thrown in feels like a model replica of the larger hypocritical world that hardly ever means what it says.
It is about a struggling Irish tennis coach, who starts tutoring high-society snobs and designs to end up as one by marrying one of them and risks losing it all to a post-marital affair. Very humanly, he falls in love with the wrong person and tries to undo it in one of the most inhuman way. In between all that there are a lot of steamy scenes, sutble dialogues and minute observations of a society that has degenrated over a period of time.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, that cute coach from Bend it Like Beckham, shows a totally different kinda caliber as an actor while playing the ambitious, degenrating protagonist Chris. Scarlett Johansson is Nola, the usual neurotic attraction that is present in different forms in all circles. The other British ensamble paraphernelia proves apt and useful.
Just by putting ‘chance’ in the center of the story, how relationships are toyed around is depicted beautifully. And when the credits open, the movie starts with how winning or losing in a tennis match and perhaps in life, depends on which side of the net your ball falls on. Make sure you remember that one till the surprising end.
Match Point is urban classic with less Woody Allen characterisitics but retains his abitliy of bringing out brilliant satirical moments. It is interesting to see Woody move out of his familiar New York state of creativity and make a success of it. I still wish it was a little shorter though.