Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sporting A Woody

Score one for Woody.

You know who I am talking about: Mr. Manhattan himself.

Except this time, with Match Point, Woody takes on London as his location for the challenging intellectual cinema that he creates for viewers when he is at his best. There is less humor here than in his comedies, but then that's the point. Rather, the work is a philosophical investigation into the role luck plays in all of our lives. The movie goes out of its way to say that yes, hard work has its own rewards, and may help you lead a better life, but luck itself can give you the greatest advantage. Think of those in power now who, regardless of what they do, seem to always weather the storm. Lucky bastards, they're getting away with murder.

The film has a major "art" thread flowing throughout it. There's the Tate Modern, the Saatchi Gallery, sardonic jabs at creative class struggle, and muse-like appropriation of the "star-in-waiting" played by Scarlett Johansson whose character, Nola Rice, is an unknown American actress from - of all places - Boulder, Colorado. The backdrop of tennis helps metaphorically situate Allen's philosophical concerns too. After all, here is a sport where love means nothing. But is it blood sport?

I don't like to summarize dramatic plots, so I won't do that here either. Besides, plots are graves, are they not? It's time to bury them.

I prefer to integrate my movie-going experience into the flow of everyday life events, like I did here, in my Oz blog which I wrote back in early 2002 while living in Melbourne, Australia (the excerpt linked to here was published/exhibited at The Iowa Review). Check out the section called "Walking Scene: The Market" for the riff on David Lynch, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, Twin Peaks, Britney, Boulder, and the JonBenet Ramsey connection.

UPDATE: when I first read about MATCH POINT, I saved a quote from Woody that I thought was both funny and prescient:
"It's increasingly difficult in America. I can get financing, but studios there don't want to be thought of just as a bank. They want to participate[...]I can't work that way. I want the money in a brown paper bag and to give them the film a few months later.

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