Friday, January 13, 2006


After a bracing pint in Dunphy’s (a great no bullshit pub), I went to see Woody Allen’s “Match Point” in Dun Laoghaire last night.

If you had subtracted Scarlett Johansson from the film, I would have been bored. She lights up the screen and induces thoughts of crazy carnality.

Elsewhere the film was a mess. First, and perhaps superficially, let’s look at the tennis. Using a net chord as a metaphor for luck was a bit strained – when the ball hits the net and goes over after a serve, you play the point again. Also, you could be responsible for the stroke that hits the net, this is not bad luck but bad execution. Also, anyone who knows tennis could see that the pupil was far more adept than the teacher in the coaching scene – you see it in the strokes. But this perhaps is nit-picking – most tennis scenes in films are unconvincing.

The biggest problem for me was the sudden transformation of the film from an observation of manners and mores in upper-crust Britain, to some kind of thriller, albeit a deeply unconvincing one. Did nobody ever hear of mobile phone records? Nothing in the early depiction of the limp protagonist would lead you to believe he was capable of murder – or even serious passion. In fact, Meyers (?) didn’t really have the screen presence or acting ability to carry off the role. Compare and contrast with Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. (And, incidentally, back the latter for best-actor in the next Academy Awards for his role in “Capote”.)

What else? Well you expect snappy dialogue and wit in a Woody Allen film. You got neither in this. I don’t know who wrote the script, but they got it all wrong. It was leaden. Allen, far from his natural habitat, perhaps couldn’t see this. Compare and contrast with the verbal sparkle of “Manhattan”.

Critics have bitched about the ticking off of tourist sites. I didn’t mind this and was delighted to catch a glimpse of the Royal Court (a famous pioneering theatre in the Sixties) and the Tate Modern.

Having said all that, I loved the central premise of the film – the role luck plays in our affairs (of all kind).