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Topic: High praises for 'Alfie' movie & soundtrack (NSC) Return to archive
November 21st, 2004 03:08 PM
Monkey Woman From Ree.com
http://www.reel.com/movie.asp?MID=139422&buy=open&Tab=reviews&CID=13

Alfie (2004)



Alfie is a total knockout of a movie: stylish, well-crafted and well-performed. It also manages simultaneously to be a cautionary tale for Casanovas everywhere.

It is likely that reviews of Alfie will be divided along gender and generation lines, or based on each (re)viewer's sex and relationship history, but that makes it a great date movie. Just probably not a great first date movie.

Alfie (Jude Law) is a cad, a rogue, a lothario of the highest order. A London transplant to Manhattan, he quickly admits he moved because he'd heard New York had the most beautiful women in the world. In his job as a limo driver, he has ample opportunity to sample some of these beautiful women, including Sienna Miller, Susan Sarandon, and Jane Krakowski, but the minute they get too close, he drops them.



Women know this story all too well, though most of us haven't had the fortune of having been seduced by a Jude Law. Then again, most of us don't look like Sienna Miller or Susan Sarandon. Maybe either of those elements would cushion the blow of a lothario's inevitable disappearing act.

At the outset, Alfie-the-movie can come across as misogynistic and slightly racist, but really it's Alfie-the-character who has these issues. He believes all women want commitment and that any woman he meets—that is, those who meet his exceedingly high standards—are his for the taking. Given his good looks and charm, that's pretty much how it goes. He has a quasi-girlfriend (Marisa Tomei) who eventually wises up and kicks him out. Alfie is a narcissist, a guy who uses women like disposable mirrors of his own appeal, then throws them away. And yet, in Law's hands, there is a redemptive quality about the guy. Perhaps it's just that in his constant monologues to the camera, he seduces the audience just as he seduces his conquests. It evokes responses ranging from frighteningly convincing to irksome to infuriating to… well, charming. There's nothing more charming than a narcissist who wants something, and Alfie is always looking for something, the next thing. Somehow Law shows us Alfie's vulnerable side without actually displaying it. In the hands of a lesser actor, Alfie would simply be one major creep. Still, there are moments when one just wishes Alfie would contract herpes or something—that he would suffer some consequence of his promiscuity and lies.

The dark humor of the film lies largely in the audience's recognition of various situations. To some, Alfie will be more of a comedy than it is to others. Alfie's ludicrous justifications, his enormous ego and relentless narcissism will probably resonate with many women, and may make some men who have playboy pasts (or presents) more than a bit uncomfortable. Likewise with the genders reversed.

The production design is magnificent. Alfie is based on the 1966 movie of the same name, the film that ushered Michael Caine into stardom. This Alfie manages to simultaneously convey the distinct look of the late '60s and early '70s (which also plays to the "free love" concept) with contemporary styles. Many films have tried to capture the uniquely New York juxtaposition of extreme Christmas festivity with aching loneliness; this one succeeds, largely thanks to the designer and editor. The score, by none other than Sir Mick Jagger, is the best of any film this year, or in many years, perhaps.

Law is a tremendous performer, and he handles the second-person narration—a difficult technique for film actors—exceptionally well. If you are of an orientation that appreciates the male body, well, hey, you've got yourself a 103-minute feast of eye candy here.

Not a single performance in the film is weak or dishonest. Instead, all the supporting performers are top notch. Most notable are Tomei, as an everywoman who has finally had enough (though it's difficult to consider her "plain"); Nia Long as one of Alfie's conquests, as well as his best friend's (Omar Epps) girlfriend; and Sarandon, who ultimately turns the tables on Alfie. All of the women are fully realized, three-dimensional characters, which is also refreshing in a movie about a man who treats women as objects. Miller's Nikki is a little off the deep end, but she appears to be the youngest, so chalk it up to immaturity. Dick Latessa as an elderly widower who touches Alfie's life, also gives a notable performance. Raising the hipness factor of this film even more is a cameo by longtime Vanity Fair publisher Graydon Carter (no wonder Law was on the cover last month).

Another nice change of pace from mainstream Hollywood romance films is the ending, which is not even bittersweet; it's just plain bitter. We know Alfie's made his own bed, so to speak, yet his vulnerability and pain ring true. It's the ending that all the Alfies in the real world should see, but knowing them, they'd probably say, "That'll never happen to me." After all, that's what the title character believes all the way through the film.

Every woman knows an Alfie or two. If you are still on speaking terms with him (them), please make him see this movie, as a gift to himself and to all womankind.

—SARAH CHAUNCEY
November 21st, 2004 03:24 PM
Ten Thousand Motels What a bunch of shit, this film is rubbish. And I haven't even seen it. One star .... forgotten after 2 months.
November 21st, 2004 03:32 PM
Monkey Woman
quote:
Ten Thousand Motels wrote:
What a bunch of shit, this film is rubbish. And I haven't even seen it.


TTM, the film critic who doesn't see what he reviews...
November 21st, 2004 03:53 PM
Ten Thousand Motels
quote:
Monkey Woman wrote:

TTM, the film critic who doesn't see what he reviews...



Well. I've written only restaurant reviews myself. But you're right that to review something without seeing it is asinine. But.....


[Edited by Ten Thousand Motels]
November 21st, 2004 05:25 PM
Madafaka I'll watch it next week
[Edited by Madafaka]
November 21st, 2004 05:29 PM
glencar Unfortunately, it's almost moved out of my area. They're down to one showing per day & it's not convenient for me. I hope to see it when I go down to Virginia this weekend.
November 21st, 2004 10:45 PM
Soldatti
quote:
Madafaka wrote:
I'll watch it next week
[Edited by Madafaka]



Me too!
November 22nd, 2004 09:29 AM
egon it's supposed to suck (in a bad way that is)
November 22nd, 2004 10:22 AM
Honky Tonk Man I went to see it a few weeks back and it's terrible!

Everything about it just stinks. Jude Law is too posh to play a cockney, its set in New York, but filmed in London, he zooms around on a Vespa scooter. The film is just about how many women he manages to bonk and how he ends up realising, that no matter how much fun he THINKS he's having, he's going to be a pretty lonely guy at the end of it all.

Oh, and do you know what the worst thing is? My mum told me she LOVES the new Mick Jagger song.

Alex
November 22nd, 2004 12:18 PM
Snappy McJack If the movie is anything like that crappy "Old Habits Die Hard" song, forget about it!

November 22nd, 2004 02:16 PM
BILL PERKS
quote:
Ten Thousand Motels wrote:
What a bunch of shit, this film is rubbish. And I haven't even seen it. One star .... forgotten after 2 months.


THIS IS ANOTHER REASON YOU ARE AN IDIOT
November 22nd, 2004 02:43 PM
Ten Thousand Motels
quote:
BILL PERKS wrote:
THIS IS ANOTHER REASON YOU ARE AN IDIOT




November 22nd, 2004 10:18 PM
Soldatti I go to the cinema once a week, so Alfie will be my choice this week.
November 22nd, 2004 10:46 PM
Madafaka Yeap! Alfie this week, The Incredibles next week!
November 22nd, 2004 10:53 PM
Soldatti Interesting movies this last months.
[Edited by Soldatti]