DVDs: Match Point

In Match Point (DreamWorks; Movie •••½, Picture/Sound •••½, Extras: None), Woody Allen creates a Shakespearean tale of ambition, passion, and madness that can only end in tears, and he does so in a uniquely cinematic way. By usual DVD standards, the quality of the picture and sound might seem lacking. The sound, after all, is mono, presenting dialogue, effects, and 90-year-old opera recordings as equals, without separation. Images are just as undifferentiated - gently focused, evenly lit, and not very detailed (except in the faces), the surrounding spaces often a soft blur, particularly in the murky shadows. The overall effect, however, is of old-school Hollywood glamour, making the haute-bourgeois world our young hero wishes to join looking heavenly and its inhabitants more like gods than businessmen. The same warm colors turn attractive Scarlett Johansson into a glowing, golden ravishment, a temptation for any man who has foolishly married for money instead of love. Playing out the tragedy as equal parts Crime and Punishment and Room at the Top, a rejuvenated Allen is obviously having a good time, and viewers are guaranteed one, too - even if, as always, Allen has no place for DVD extras.

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