Woody Allen’s newest film ‘Match Point’ deals with love entanglements, makes for good conversation

Melissa Treolo

It is only through sheer, dumb luck that the main character of Woody Allen’s neo-noir, “Match Point,” is able to avoid a lifetime in prison or even a stint on death row.

“The man who said ‘I’d rather be lucky than good’ saw deeply into life,” as Chris Wilton said. “People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and, with a little luck, it goes forward and you win…or maybe it doesn’t, and you lose.”

Wilton’s analogy is a tennis one, but it also works well for one of the final scenes where he throws a ring, a piece of evidence for his crimes, into the river and walks away. Without realizing it the ring doesn’t make it into the river but, instead, hits the top of the sidewalk railing and falls backward onto the cement. As luck would have it this single, careless act ends up becoming Wilton’s salvation.

Or does it?

This question, among many others concerning the film, will most assuredly be the subject of much discussion. “Match Point” is perfect material for one of the best parts about watching a movie: Talking about it afterward. Though, admittedly, the scenario is nothing we haven’t seen before. Boy meets girl No. 1. Boy meets girl No. 2. Boy marries girl No. 1 but begins an illicit affair with girl No. 2. Boy gets girl No. 2 pregnant and so decides to murder one of the girls to get out of the messy entanglement he now finds himself in.

Versions of this story have been done over and over again, especially in the film noir genre. Allen himself has made a career out of movies like this. In fact, “Match Point” is a lot like his 1989 film “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” minus a few grey hairs and the landscape of Manhattan (the film is set in London and Allen trades in the older cast of “Crimes” for the young Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers).

But the film works, and the idea of luck being a key player in the daily adventures of life is an attractive one, albeit a dangerous one. By its very nature, luck doesn’t always go your way, and once the viewer finds out what happens at the end of the film, they may not be able to help but wonder, “What would have happened if the ring had gone in?”