Forbidden love is a frequent Woody Allen theme, and it’s at the root of his latest, highly acclaimed film. Shot entirely in England, Match Point tells the story of Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a former tennis pro who falls game, set, and match for the sensuous American Nola (Scarlett Johansson). The problem is, Nola’s engaged to Tom, who’s not only Chris’ good friend but may soon be his brother-in-law by way of Chris’ pending marriage to Tom’s sister, Chloe.
Illicit romance and heartache are omnipresent but are compounded by the fact that Chris has become accustomed to the wealthy lifestyle enjoyed by Chloe’s family—along with his income working for Chloe’s father. The first two thirds of the film pull you into Chris’ dilemma.
Unfortunately, it veers off into the implausible in the final act, as both Chris and Nola start to behave out of character. Johansson’s stock-in-trade is playing the aloof, sexy-lipped ingenue. But Nola soon becomes unhinged, and the actress’ weaknesses are exposed.
The film’s resolution would have been more impactful had it relied more on emotion than contrivances. That’s ironic, since Allen has displayed a mastery of human emotions throughout his career. Nonetheless, he draws a compelling love triangle for most of the movie’s running time.
Although a commentary by the director/writer would have been unheard of, this DVD is notable for its complete lack of extra material. There’s a preview for Munich, and that’s the extent of it. Nor should you expect a more loaded version down the road, as Allen’s films on DVD are notoriously bare-bones.
Presentation is good but won’t land this disc in any reference library. The colors are deliberately muted, befitting a film whose marketing campaign was in black and white. The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture delivers nice detail, however. And the Dolby Mono soundtrack delivers the dialogue clearly, which is about the best that you can say for a film like this. It’s surprising that there’s no 5.1 audio track.
Match Point made many critics’ best-of-the-year lists and earned Allen an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Although the film has merit, its thriller-wrapped-inside-a-romance structure is jarring and ultimately makes this far from the director’s best work. It’s a deuce when it could have been an ace.