Match Point (2005) written/directed by Woody Allen, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode and Brian Cox. This was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2006.
Synopsis: Chris Wilton (Meyers), a former professional tennis player moves to London and meets the wealthy Chloe (Mortimer). Everything is perfect – her family adore him, offer him a job in one of their businesses, and Chloe falls for him. After meeting Chloe’s brother Tom’s (Goode) fiancé Nola (Johansson), he is instantly attracted to her. Nola is an American actress, and is struggling on the acting circuit. After a chance encounter with Nola after an audition, they eventually sleep together. These trigger a life changing sequence of events resulting in a vicious downward spiral for Chris.
Thematically, this story is all about chance, and many of the encounters that happen are due to blind luck. The fact Chris is a former tennis player illustrates this nicely. Chris provides an analogy summing this up. “There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn’t, and you lose.” There is a moment towards the end of the film when an object is thrown towards the river, symbolising the tennis net when it goes a certain way; thus, reinforcing this theme. The talent of Allen’s writing brings this theme full circle.
There is a very talented cast in this film, and each give good performances. Meyers plays a man who gradually loses control nicely. The stand out performance, however, is from Johansson. She plays the femme fatale archetype very well, and leads Meyers astray with little effort whatsoever. Her progression from coy and seductive to out of control is every man’s nightmare, and is done to perfection. It is not surprising that Allen has utilised her for other roles since.
Woody Allen is a very talented filmmaker, and is still producing quality stories with intriguing themes. For a good insight into the repercussions of an affair, then this film is for you. This effectively conveys the downward spiral protagonist Chris is on, and the desperate lengths he goes to in order to keep this under control.
I recommend this.
By Robert Spence