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Match Point
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Letty Aronson,
Gareth Wiley
& Lucy Darwin
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Scarlett Johansson
Emily Mortimer
Matthew Goode
Brian Cox
Penelope Wilton
Ewen Bremner
James Nesbitt
Rupert Penry-Jones
Cinematography Remi Adefarasin
Editing by Alisa Lepselter
Studio BBC Films
Thema Production SA
Distributed by - USA -
DreamWorks
- UK/Australia -
Icon Productions (theatrical)
Warner Home Video (DVD)
- Germany -
Prokino Filmverleih (theatrical)
Paramount Home Entertainment (DVD)
Release date(s) 12 May 2005 (Cannes)
6 January 2006 (UK)
Running time 124 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Match Point (2005) is a dramatic thriller film written and directed by Woody Allen, and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox and Penelope Wilton.

Contents

Synopsis

When former tennis pro Chris Wilton begins a relationship with shy heiress Chloe Hewett after befriending her brother Tom, he finds his social and financial status vastly improved. However, once he has an affair with Tom's ex-lover, American actress Nola Rice, he realizes that his new, luxurious lifestyle may be threatened. So Chris formulates a devious plan to rid himself of his inconvenient mistress.

Plot summary

Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a recently retired tennis pro, takes up a job as a tennis instructor at an upmarket London club. He strikes up a friendship with a pupil, Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), after discovering a common affinity for opera. Tom's younger sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer) is smitten by Chris and the two start dating. During a family gathering, Chris meets Tom's fiancée, Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson). Tom's mother Eleanor clearly does not approve of her son's relationship with a struggling American actress, a source of tension; she does not mind that Chloe is with Chris. Chloe encourages her father to give Chris a job as an executive in one of his companies; Chris begins to be accepted into the family, and marriage is discussed.

However, Chris is attracted to Nola, and during a storm he follows her outside, comes on strongly to her and they make love in a field, feeling both passionate and guilty. Nola treats this as an accident; Chris wants an ongoing clandestine relationship. Eventually, Chris marries Chloe. Some days later, Chris learns that Tom has broken up with Nola.

Chris and Chloe are unable to have children, much to her distress, and Chris is turning into a workaholic. Tom marries his new girlfriend apparently because she is pregnant. An inconvenient pregnancy also seems to have been the reason for his and Nola's break-up. Chris vainly tries to track down Nola at her old apartment, but meets her by chance some days later at the Tate Modern where he is supposed to meet Chloe. Under his wife's nose, he discreetly asks for her number. The two of them start having an affair.

While Chris is spending time with his wife's family, Nola calls him to inform him that she is pregnant. Chris is shocked and asks her to be reasonable and get an abortion. She refuses, saying that she has had an abortion twice before and that she wants to raise the child with him. Chris' strange behavior makes Chloe suspect he is having an affair, but Chris convinces her that he is not. Nola urges Chris to divorce Chloe. Chris feels trapped and finds himself lying to Chloe as well as Nola. Upon discovering some of his lies, Nola confronts him, and he just barely escapes public detection. Finally, one day he calls Nola to tell her he has good news for her.

Chris steals a shotgun from his father-in-law's place and carries it to his office in a tennis bag. After leaving his office, Chris goes to Nola's place and enters the apartment of Mrs. Eastby, Nola's neighbor, on the pretext of checking her TV reception. He shoots her dead and rifles her apartment as a burglar would. He takes some jewelry and drugs, and puts them in his tennis bag. As Nola reaches her apartment, Chris shoots her, too, immediately upon seeing her. He then takes a cab to the theater to watch a musical with Chloe. Police investigate the crime scene and conclude it was a drug robbery.

The following day, the murder is in the news and the Hewett family is shocked while Chris feigns surprise. Chris, on his next trip to his father-in-law's place, replaces the shotgun. Chloe and Chris announce to the Hewetts that Chloe is pregnant.

At the same time, Chris gets a call from Detective Mike Banner and is called in for regular questioning in relation to the Eastby-Rice murder. Before the questioning, Chris dumps Mrs. Eastby's jewelry and drugs into the river, but by chance her ring bounces on the railing and falls on the sidewalk. During the police questioning, Chris claims to have known Nola only socially, but Banner surprises him by pulling out a diary in which he features extensively. Chris confesses his affair to Banner but denies any link to the murder, and appeals to the detectives not to involve him any more in their investigation, as news of the affair may well end his marriage, just as he and his wife are trying to conceive a baby.

Chris' guilt leads him to see apparitions of Nola and Mrs. Eastby, who tell him to be ready for the consequences of his actions. At the same time, Banner suddenly, in a dream, figures out Chris' crime. His theory is, however, discredited by his smiling colleague who informs him that a drug peddler found murdered on the streets had Eastby's ring in his pocket.

The film ends with Chloe having a baby boy named Terrence, and his uncle blessing him not with goodness but with luck. Chris stands by the window, somewhat detached from the arrival of his newborn son. The killer has gotten away with his crime.

Cast

Reception

Known for not being content with his work, Allen has claimed that Match Point "arguably may be the best film that I've made. This is strictly accidental, it just happened to come out right. You know, I try to make them all good, but some come out and some don't. With this one everything seemed to come out right. The actors fell in, the photography fell in and the story clicked. I caught a lot of breaks."[1] The film was screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Critical response

The film received generally strong reviews from critics. As of January 21, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 77 percent positive reviews, based on 191 reviews.[3] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 72 out of 100, based on 40 reviews.[4] On IMDb, it has a score of 7.8 out of 10. Match Point has also been the object of scholarship. Joseph Henry Vogel argues the film is exemplary of ecocriticism as an economic school of thought.[5] The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[6]

Box office

Match Point broke a long streak of box office flops for Allen, with a worldwide gross of $85,306,374 to 5 October, 2006 comprising $23,151,529 in its North American run and $62,146,742 abroad, according to Box Office Mojo.[7]

Style and Influences

Match Point is essentially a pessimistic fable about the importance of luck over virtue. The film begins with a static shot of a tennis court, with a ball suspended just above the net, while Chris, off camera, recites the following monologue:

The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. 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.

The story has a lot in common with Allen's previous work Crimes and Misdemeanors, which itself was inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic novel Crime and Punishment. Allen always felt as though his presence in Crimes and Misdemeanors ruined the film, so he always wanted to remake it (or make a similar film).

As with the previously mentioned works, Match Point is undercut by a certain dark nihilism; main character Chris Wilton's plan to kill his lover is flawed at best; however, because of a crucial piece of luck he succeeds in evading suspicion. It also borrows a few other touches from some of Allen’s other films, such as the tennis scenes from Annie Hall and the final shot, with the main character looking out a window into a vagrant sky, as in Interiors.

Much of the narrative tension stems from the preconceived notion that Chris' crimes will soon be discovered. This genre expectation is usually satisfied at the conclusion of stories involving adultery, deception, or murder. Allen also makes use of the British setting to inject social satire reminiscent of a comedy of manners, which also carries the tradition of a class impostor that eventually becomes exposed in the end. Allen circumvents the expected tragic ending by having the crucial piece of evidence play contrary to its traditional function as the smoking gun and ironically aid the killer in getting away with his crime.

The narrative borrows heavily from Stendhal's classic The Red and the Black, as well as Theodore Dreiser's renowned crime novel An American Tragedy. However, whereas the protagonist of the latter story was punished for his heinous crimes, Chris escapes justice and remains unrepentant, thus emphasizing the aforementioned nihilism.

Meanwhile, the idea of a tennis star discovering the importance of luck is taken directly from W. Somerset Maugham's short story "The Facts of Life".

Production

The film's backdrop includes well-known London locations such as the Tate Modern, Norman Foster's "Gherkin", Richard Rogers' Lloyd's building, the Royal Opera House, the Palace of Westminster, Blackfriars Bridge and Cambridge Circus. One of the University of Westminster's Marylebone campus lecture theatres was also used. UK-based graffiti artist Banksy's "girl with balloon" appears briefly in the film.

Soundtrack

The film's soundtrack consists almost entirely of pre-World War I 78 rpm recordings of opera arias sung by Italian tenor Enrico Caruso.

Opera connoisseurs have noted that the arias and opera extracts make an ironic commentary on the actions of the characters and sometimes foreshadow developments in the movie's narrative.[8][citation needed] The Caruso arias are intercut with extracts from contemporary performances which the characters attend over the course of the film. There are scenes at the Royal Opera House and elsewhere performed by opera singers ("La Traviata" performed by Janis Kelly and Alan Oke, "Rigoletto" performed by Mary Hegarty), accompanied by a piano (performed by Tim Lole) and not, as is usual, by an orchestra (for saving money).

Arias and extracts include work by Verdi (in particular Macbeth, La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Rigoletto), Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, Carlos Gomes' Salvatore Rosa sung by Caruso. The romanza Una furtiva lagrima from L'elisir d'amore is featured repeatedly, including during the opening credits.

Neighbour Mrs. Eastby (Margaret Tyzack) is listening to budget price Naxos CD "Operatic Duets for Tenor and Baritone" by Janez Lotrič & Igor Morozov (Gioachino Rossini's Guglielmo Tell from "Arresta", then Verdi' Otello from the murder scene "Desdemona") when she is shot by Chris.

A portion of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Woman in White is heard while Emily Mortimer is waiting for Jonathan Rhys Meyers at Palace Theatre.

The movie's trailer features the song "Postscript" by the Irish band Autamata, vocals by Carol Keogh, though this is not featured in the movie itself.

The following arias and songs from the soundtrack are available as MP3 downloads from the Internet Archive:

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Match Point is a 2005 film about a former tennis pro, Chris Wilton, who falls for a beautiful woman who turns out to be his friend's fiancee and soon-to-be brother-in-law.

Written and directed by Woody Allen.
There are no little secrets. taglines

Contents

Chris Wilton

  • The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. 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.
  • I got involved with a woman. Very nice. Family's got nothing but money.
  • You can learn to push the guilt under the rug and go on. Otherwise, it overwhelms you.
  • The innocent are sometimes slain to make way for grander schemes. You were collateral damage.
  • Sophocles said, that to never have been born may be the greatest boon of all.

Dialogue

Chloe: You know it's over a week since we made love.
Wilton: Chloe, I'm beat.

Chloe: Are you having an affair?
Wilton: Of course I'm not. Don't be silly.

Nola: Men seem to think I'd be somebody very special.
Wilton: And are you?
Nola: Well, no one's ever asked for their money back.

Taglines

  • There are no little secrets.

Cast

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Match Point is a 2005 movie by director Woody Allen. The movie stars Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

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