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Match Point

By Marc Masters | Posted 2/8/2006

The London-based Match Point is almost Woody-less: no New York scenes, no philosophical angst crammed into one-liners, no messy dialogue overlapping in a neurotic rush. Instead it proceeds in the measured tones of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, with each word precise and every action duly considered. Tennis pro Chris (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) opens the movie extolling luck over skill, and soon has the good fortune to meet privileged heir Tom (Matthew Goode). Chris is quickly swallowed into Tomís world, marrying sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) and working for father Alec (Brian Cox). Chrisí new status is threatened by his infatuation with Tomís fiancťe, Nola (the typically leaden Scarlet Johansson, who never met a line she couldnít flatten), which escalates into an affair. A well-oiled chain of tense scenes culminates in the do-or-die moment suggested by the title. On paper it sounds dry, but Allenís storytelling is taut and compelling, and the connection between Chris and Nola is convincing, making their affairís repercussions worth caring about. But the movie itself would rather be about luck and misfortune than good and evil, and though engaging and at times fascinating, Match Point is ultimately little more than the sum of its plot.

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