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Monday, December 20, 2010

[7.00/10] You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger (2010)


You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger (2010)

Woody Allen's latest film, "You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger" tells the story of two married couples find only trouble and heartache as their complicated lives unfold. After 40 years of marriage, Alfie leaves his wife to pursue what he thinks is happiness with a call girl. His wife, Helena, reeling from abandonment, decides to follow the advice of a psychic. Sally, the daughter of Alfie and Helena, is unhappy in her marriage and develops a crush on her boss, while her husband, Roy, falls for a woman engaged to be married. Woody Allen's films have always been about study of human relationships, and "You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger" is no exception. The most fasinating thing about this film, is Allen's effortless ability to turn an otherwise hackneyed material into something really gripping. Though quite predictable, this dialogue-driven black comedy shines with a clever script, witty humor, plenty of amusing situations and excellent narration by Zak Orth, whose captivating voice will submerge you into the story even deeper. The story unfolds smoothly throughout out, without losing any energy, thanks to its relatively tight pacing and brisk dialogues that will catch your attention for sure. "You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger" is, unsurprisingly, brilliantly-cast. Allen has gathered a whole bunch of extremely talented actors, who all do an amazing job with the material they're given. One of the most gifted actresses nowadays, Naomi Watts, turns in a great performance as one of the central characters, Sally - an intelligent and pretty, yet confused and rather neurotic middle-aged woman, unsatisfied with her family life, but dedicated to her career as an art connoisseur. She's incredible as usual, and quite convincing in conveying a wide range of human emotions. However, it's Gemma Jones that steals the show as Helena - the rich mother-in-law, completely obsessed with a phony fortune-teller, who tells her everything she wants to hear. Jones is very sympathetic as the deluded old woman, and certainly the most hilarious character in the movie, as she delivers most of the laughs. Antonio Banderas doesn't get to do much other than speaking with sexy accent and looking handsome, and he definitely does a great job at being the irresistable boss of Sally. Josh Brolin is fairly good as Roy, but he's outshined by Jones and Watts. Anthony Hopkins' performance is just okay, compared to his previous roles, and it think he may have lost some of his sparkle. "Slumdog Millionaire"'s own, Freida Pinto, is not only incredibly eye-candy, but also pretty solid as Roy's new love interest, Dia. "You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger" is also typically well-shot and visually-appealing. London has never looked so fresh, colorful, shiny and beautiful on screen, thanks to Jim Clay's excellent production design and Vilmos Zsigmond's bright, yellowish cinematography, that perfectly suit the fun and satirical spirit of the movie. Although, not nearly as good as Allen's late-period triumphs "Match Point" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", "You Will Meet a Dark Tall Stranger" stands on its own with an intriguing enough story, excellent perfomances and fantastic visuals.

10 comments:

Lesya Khyzhnyak said...

I heard of the film, but never paid attention to the cast as you put it down here. Looks great. Thanks for sharing the review, it made me very interested. Some films by Allen are to my liking, some are not, that is why I don't intentionally keep track of his works.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Sounds like a good Allen film, I will be giving it a watch on dvd, thanks for the review.

Jaccstev said...

Since this is starred one of my fave actresses Naomi Watts so I will definitely watch this though I rarely enjoyed any of Woody Allen's films.

Melissa Bradley said...

I'm not into Woody Allen at all. I've just never understood his appeal. Every time I try to watch one of his movies, I fall asleep. He works like an Ambien for me. Call me a classless heathen, but there you have it.

Nebular said...

Lesya, this film is all about the cast. I was very surprised that Scarlett Johansson wasn't involved here, as it's no secret to anyone, that she's Allen's personal favorite.
I have to admit I like most of his films, especially "Match Point". If you haven't seen it, you should definitely give it a shot.

Nebular said...

Film Connoisseur, it certainly is. Not one of his greatest, but still a good effort.

Nebular said...

Jaccsy, it won't be a big surprise if I say that I absolutely love Naomi, and she's one of my favorite actresses as well ;)
I assume Allen is not you cup of tea, but you could enjoy that one, along with your fiance ;)

Nebular said...

Melissa, I have nothing against Allen. Yes, he's an odd person and not particularly attractive or very likable, but I've always like his movies, especially his late-period ones. Give him a chance :)

Lesya Khyzhnyak said...

Yeah, I've seen Match Point, and I liked it. My top favorite Allen's film is Vicky Cristina Barcelona. As for those that I didn't like, I can mention 'Annie Hall' and 'Cassandra's Dream'.

Nebular said...

Lesya, I haven't seen either of those :) Hm, I'm a bit surprised, since everybody says that Annie Hall is an Aleen classic.