You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Warner Bros 

Release date: March 18th 2011
Certificate (UK): 12A
Running time: 98 minutes

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is Woody Allen’s latest film as both writer and director, though not as the star actor.

It is always disappointing when he doesn’t take the lead, there’s no-one that can deliver a Woody Allen written line like Woody Allen himself.

From Mighty Aphrodite (1995) to Bananas (1971), he is the real master of his own art. So because of this, I had high expectations for the lead actors in the hope that they would really do the writing justice, and, luckily, they did.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Set in London, the story is centred on the troubles of the Sherbritch family. The newly divorced past-middle-aged father (Anthony Hopkins) is in hot pursuit of young women and the mother (Gemma Jones) turns to drinking and mysticism, while the daughter (Naomi Watts) and son (Josh Brolin) drift away from each other towards other objects of affection.

The voiceover is used well in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger as the characters’ back-stories are all explained very quickly and early on.

It dives right into the story without having to worry about setting the scene and controls the pace well, and helping to negotiate between several different subplots.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

The cinematography isn’t as ambitious as some of Allen’s other films. It’s a million miles from the guerrilla style camerawork of Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), and more in line with an almost pristine, Hollywood style – like with Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008).

It doesn’t have the charm of the earlier work, but the really redeeming factor is the music. The little jazz song between the scenes adds a very interesting feel to the whole film, where the cinematography has done in the past for Allen.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

The cast list is full of big names and they have a great script to live up to. Gemma Jones is very good as the mother who becomes funnier the crazier she gets, and Freida Pinto does a wonderful job as the sought after woman from across the street.

But it’s Anthony Hopkins who really steals the show. His midlife (well, getting a bit beyond midlife) crisis provides a lot of laughs early on in the film, with his ridiculous illusions of the life he wants to lead now he’s free of his wife. As reality sets in, however, and he watches his new wife dancing with a significantly younger man you can really see his heart break. He is the real driving force behind the film.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger ends just where the whole story could explode. And that’s the best possible way for it to end. It could easily have closed on a montage of the final happy / unhappy couples but it leaves itself open.

There are some similar partner swapping themes here that have been done before, see Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) or Mighty Aphrodite (1995), but it’s still a very funny film with some truly touching moments.

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  1. [...] Review originally published at Static Mass Emporium [...]