When someone says about a feature film, “it felt like an hour”, it’s usually a compliment because it means they were totally in the world of the film and didn’t start daydreaming or fidgeting. Match Point is like that. It is a thriller and thrillers are particularly good at sucking audiences in, although this one is more of a what’s-going-to-happen than a whodunnit.
Question your motives
Is the only reason most people do the right thing because they fear being found out if they do the wrong thing? Deep down does everyone want to have their cake and eat it too? This film makes you ponder this subject, one of my favourites.
Decide for yourself
Writer/director Woody Allen talks about Match Point as being about the role of luck and chance in life. In voice over, using the prism of a tennis match, he talks about a tennis ball going forward or falling back when it hits the top of the net. But to my way of thinking Match Point is about whether a tennis player has the right mental attitude to overcome self-imposed obstacles such as doubt and poor concentration. (Think Timothy Gallwey’s 1970s book The Inner Game of Tennis.) There are no rules stipulating that an audience has to see a film as the director intended!
Lust and mistrust
Forbidden love is a feature of Match Point so the film comes with large dollops of lust and risk, guilt and deception which, in storytelling terms, are all delicious to dive into.
Scarlett Johansson has something utterly seductive about her. Even when she’s just reading a book, she’s irresistible. Her role as Nola in Match Point requires her to turn that natural heat up. (Those who fantasise about getting with Ms Johansson might be interested in this strangely compelling clip in which she comes up with a theory about why actors date actors while in conversation with co-star Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays the lead role of a former tennis pro.)
The score, which includes the work of Giuseppe Verdi and Carlos Gomes, is very special. Here is a review of the soundtrack album and a list of the tracks.
It's Woody Allen's favourite film (by Woody Allen)
Whatever you think of Woody Allen, he’s made about 40 feature films, so it must carry some weight that he has described Match Point as one of his favourites. It earned him an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay and, for the record, it’s the first of his films made entirely outside the US.
Watch 'Match Point'
Tuesday 22 September, 9:30pm on SBS World Movies
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox