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Match Point

Year: 2005
Production Co: BBC Films
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Emily Mortimer, Mathew Goode, Brian Cox

This film marked two departures for Woody Allen. At the time, much was made of his leaving his long-favourite Manhattan setting for English shores.

But the lesser change was that for the first time distributors were marketing an Allen film quite differently, perhaps hoping to convince audiences who didn't automatically dismiss his work as neurotic Jewish New York intellectualism.

You can probably count on one hand the number of times guns have featured in Woody Allen films, but the trailer I remember had a slowly menacing soundtrack culminating in the scene of the hero (Rhys Myers) pulling the rifle for the penultimate dramatic act. To watch it you'd think it was advertising a David Ayer-scripted cop drama like Dark Blue or Street Kings.

So it's something of a relief to see it's vintage Allen, a story of star cross'd lovers as effective at shining a light on the vagaries of the romantic fates as it is those of the human condition when it comes to love and lust.

At the time Scarlett Johansson was Allen's new muse, and she plays a shapely American actress who catches the eye of a tennis pro at an English manor estate (Rhys Myers) despite the fact that she's engaged to his best friend and wif'e (Mortimer) brother.

The two start an affair that can only end in heartache, and does so in a way that's surprisingly dark compared to Allen's other movies. One can't in fact help feeling he might have given in to studio pressure - it's been written before about how despite his high standing, every one of Allen's films is something of a battle to get made.

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