I went to the cineplex, bought a ticket for a movie and then realized that I was too early for its start. With about 30 minutes to kill, I went into see the start of "Matchpoint". I knew it was a Woody Allen movie and while I don't hate Woody Allen, I'm not a die-hard fan either. I prefer his early comedies, and I tend to rent his movies on DVD when nothing else seems good. So, by watching the start, I thought I'd get a sense of the movie to decide whether it would be a later rental. I looked at my watch as the 30 minute mark ticked by and decided to stay for the rest of "Matchpoint". The other movie will get the financial credit from my ticket purchase, but Woody Allen gets the artistic credit. "Matchpoint" is good, but disturbing. After watching it, and as I walked out of the cinema, I was almost angry with myself for having stayed. It's too disturbing.
The script was originally written for Long Island but then it got transferred to London. In my view, this makes for a better movie. The cold phlegmatism of class-obsessed England gives a critical twist to the story. True, this opens the movie to the expected quibbles about accents, origins, habits, expressions, country houses and so on. In a sense, the Brits who make such criticisms are just proving the truth of the film's context. The script has also been compared to "Crimes and Misdemeanours". In my opinion, the characters in "Crimes and Misdemeanours" openly reflected on their actions. In "Matchpoint", any reflection is much, much more subtle. This is Dostoievski territory.
Truth be told, Woody Allen on a bad day is better than most filmmakers on their best days. In "Matchpoint", you are in the hands of a master. Since "Matchpoint" puts an American character into a British setting, I suggest that you compare it with "Notting Hill" or "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or even "Wimbledon". Woody Allen puts them all to shame, but in a very disturbing way.
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