Match Point (2005)




UK | Luxembourg


Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton, Ewen Bremner, James Nesbitt, Rupert Penry-Jones, Margaret Armstrong, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Miranda Raison, Rose Keegan, Colin Salmon, Toby Kebbell


At a turning point in his life, former tennis pro Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) falls for femme-fatale Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson) who happens to be dating his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law (Matthew Goode).


Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" collided with fate and gave birth to another great Woody Allen's feature. 

Insightful, and intelligent, Match Point combines a love story and some thrills, but puts aside Allen's humour and smart dialogue.

The opening sequence is one of the most philosophical, and best Woody Allen has created over the years. In slow motion, a tennis ball hits the top of the net. That ball can either go forward or fall back as Rhys Meyers's voiceover says. That ball is the metaphor of chaos that rules the world, of fortuities, of luck. It's in that very first minute that it's enclosed the essence of the film: luck being more important than hard work. And that's exactly how the film ends. The ring hits the bar, and luck only can save the main character.

The plot is very interesting, and in addition there is an engaging story about social class. However, there are a few plot holes I can't help but point out. First of all, the main character is Irish, but speaks with an upper-class English accent, and there is no apparent reason for that. Also, he works in a company connected with his father-in-law yet somehow manages to get away with using his work as an excuse for his absence.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I had only seen before in minor roles - "Bend It Like Beckham", "Albert Nobbs", and "Mission: Impossible III" - is excellent as the former tennis player. Scarlett Johansson is sexy as never before, and does a good job as the mistress, although she has lost something since "Lost in Translation". Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, and Brian Cox all do a good job.

The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose. - Chris Wilton

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