Match Point

…or Hitchcock without the suspense and intellecutal rigor. Critics have been overpraising this stiff, often improbable thriller, perhaps relieved that it’s not about Woody Allen dating Dakota Fanning. But Patricia Highsmith used to knock off this kind of story twice a year, with far more intriguing characters and better plot twists.

One thing Allen does get is the irresistible appeal of luxury, and since this is set in London and its wealthy environs, he has a chance to explore something more than the Upper East Side/Upper West Side world that has made many of his recent films interchangeable. But don’t kid yourself. It’s a thin, slow story with a weak ending.

Allen doesn’t seem all that interested in the trappings of thrillers, and by the last half-hour has lost interest in his main characters as well, switching the focus of the story to the police investigating the case (and providing more Hitchcock quotes, this time from Frenzy). Allen drops even this angle to ponder various philosophical issues as “when good things happen to bad people.” It’s this veneer of intellectualism that has fooled many of his admirers in the past. Watch how many will give it a break simply because it doesn’t reek as badly as Deconstructing Harry.

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