In some ways, the Cannes Film Festival, now on here disappointed, me. Woody Allen was one. And not because he did not get along with him on the Red Carpet the Slumdog Millionaire girl, Frieda Pinto.
Allen gave us two riveting movies in recent times, Match Point and Vicky Christina Barcelona. True, he also gave two indifferent ones between these two high marks.
But Allen’s latest, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger hardly offers anything new, its starry cast of Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Antonia Banderas and Frieda Pinto failing to produce magic of any sort. Some of the characters seem neglected, some others a little too dramatic, but none to match the feisty Penelope Cruz in Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, which was, indeed, chocolate and cheese with a dash of fine wine. Set in London’s upper crust of parks, picnics, art galleries, rich men, bored wives and writers, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger turns out be like an operatic play, only that the music does not elevate us. No, no, not the way Vicky did.
Now here is the plot. Alfie Shepridge (Hopkins) leaves his wife of 40 years in a desperate bid to recapture youth. He has fast cars, a fancy gym and young hooker as herbs to banish the wrinkles and stop age. His wife, Helena, chooses a soothsayer over a psychologist for her insomnia and anxiety. Helena’s daughter, Sally (Watts), is married to Roy (Brolin), a one-book author, who gets increasingly distracted by Dia (Pinto), living across his flat and whom he watches through his window. How does Allen bring about peace in this high strung ensemble?
Allen manages to twist the story and surprise us here and there, but in the end the film does not work the way I would have loved an Allen piece to have done. What is singularly devastating is the climax.