Best of the Decade #8: Match Point
Although Woody Allen has been fairly inconsistent over the past few decades, you have to admire his efficiency. The man is well into his 70’s and is still churning out a movie every year. Mostly known for his irreverent comedies, he changed things up with 2005’s Match Point and made a film-noir that stands with the best the genre has to offer.
The movie stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a recently retired professional tennis player who has just taken a job as a tennis instructor. He becomes friends with one his very well-off students (played by Matthew Goode), whose sister almost immediately falls in love with him. They soon get married as the family’s money eventually lures Meyers’s character in. The problem here is that the tennis instructor is more interested in Goode’s girlfriend, played by the stunning Scarlett Johansson. A whirlwind of temptation and betrayal ensues, but predictability is never present.
Johansson seems to get a lot of criticism as an actress, but Allen always gets the best out of her. She is at her best when playing a sexy, yet vulnerable character like she does here. The versatile Brian Cox also makes an appearance as the father-in-law who is blind to the fact that his daugher is being played.
This is one of those movies where I originally thought it I had it all figured out, but every time I thought I knew what was going to happen next I was proven wrong. It pulls the viewer in from the start and leaves them in suspense until the very end. Match Point is proof that an old dog like Woody Allen, with over 40 feature films to his credit, can still learn new tricks after all these years.