For a movie filled with sex, relationships, a star-studded cast, and yes, even a moped, Alfie starts off spectacularly. But as this flick putters along, it becomes less chic, and more "chick." By far the saving grace of the movie is Jude Law, who plays the main character for which the movie was named. But for all its poignant potential, this film fails to shape up to the quality of its predecessor.
Alfie employs a direct interaction between the main character and the audience, first popularized in the 80's flick, Ferris Buehler's Day Off. Thanks to Law's sense of humor and onscreen sincerity, not to mention his looks, this aspect of the film does come off nicely, even enough to make you want to answer back occasionally.
Unfortunately, the lack of sufficient conclusion is really what sinks the movie; his plight just drags on and on until you leave the theater. Nonetheless, Alfie is certainly entertaining, and worth a rent if not a theater ticket.
Though the plot could come off as slightly superficial, there are some metaphorical themes which had a surprisingly genuine touch. For example, Law's costumes demonstrated his mood: In the beginning, when he is dating many, many women while explaining to the audience just how he works his magic, his clean-cut, stylish suits and crisp shirts are always very visible. However, when his suave façade begins to break down and he starts to examine himself more closely, his wardrobe instead changes to hoodies and sweaters, a much more casual look. This connection may be difficult to notice, but gives the film more depth than expected.
Alfie also develops more depth than expected throughout the film. At the start, his philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: "It doesn't do to become dependent on anybody in this life.” However, as time wears on, he realizes too late that he hasn't heeded his own advice, and the people he thought he didn't care about truly do matter to him.
Even so, during the almost sappy turn of the film, Law's emotions do seem sincere, as do his many female co-stars. Susan Sarandon, who plays an older, female version of Alfie's persona at the beginning of the film, sparkles in her role as the successful business woman who, according to Alfie, is of very high caliber. The two strike up a romance, but when she reveals her flaws to him, her character serves as a mirror for Alfie's, thus spurring on his revelations. The parallels between the two also add another dimension to the film, as the audience begins to see where Alfie is headed if he doesn't reform.
The other female characters that support Law in this film also portray their roles well, and the interactions between them and Alfie are the juice that truly keeps the plot flowing. Among the ranks are Dorie (Jane Krakowskie), Julie (Marisa Tomei), and Nikki (Sienna Miller). Tomei does especially well as the unattainable ex that Alfie will always love, and is his antithesis in that she is compassionate and caring, character traits which contrast greatly with Alfie's insincere nature towards women. Tomei's sprinkled appearances throughout the film are well-placed and poignant, proving to be the carrot dangling just out of Alfie's reach.
The cinematography is also poignant at moments, but not enough to truly make an impact. The director certainly attempted some artsy camera angles and shots, but nothing was all that impressive. In the end, any shots out of the ordinary almost felt contrived, which took away some from the supposed sincerity trying to make its way through.
Overall, Alfie does attempt some great things: metaphorical costuming, interesting camera angles, and touching plot lines, but these many efforts confuse each other and end up as simply attempts. Nonetheless, Alfie's dry humor which Law portrays so well is entertaining, and therefore the movie is certainly enjoyable, even if unsatisfying. Just don't go expecting to relax watching a "hottie” portray a debonair mix between James Bond and Thomas Crown: this remake might have you pulling a few tissues out of your pocket as well.
Kate Selby. Kate Selby is a mean, green, story writing machine! She enjoys rock climbing, yoga, volleyball, writing poetry in her psychological "Zen Zone," and running hurdles. Another hobby which Kate enjoys is laughing at herself, an activity which she pursues quite often as she often does … More »