In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
Finding it hard to settle down and commit himself to only one woman, the unrepentant philanderer and undeniable ladies' man, Alfie, is a charming British bachelor who cruises the streets of New York as a limousine chauffeur. In his impeccable suits, the silver-tongued Casanova is simply irresistible; however, things will take a turn for the unexpected, when a night of unrestrained passion seriously tests Alfie's frivolous approach to life. In the end, is Alfie happy, and, above all, what's it all about, then?Written by
The tagline for the new film 'Alfie' ask us, what's it all about? The answer, unfortunately, is that it's about sheer disappointment.
The film focuses solely on Alfie Elkins, a swinging young womanizer packed with style and a charm that could only be British. After an all too brief introduction to our protagonist and his long list of lady-friends, some kind of plot begins to develop sort of. We move through far too many completely unrelated situations, all of which only have any relevance at all because of their connection to our main character.
The film does almost nothing to stay focused on a character or situation long enough to develop anything genuine; one minute we have the beginnings of a story with one girl, the next minute we're on to something completely different. You may hope that the film returns to these unfinished story arcs, but it rarely does. And those special times when the story comes back to something that was left unfinished, the film manages to once again leave the story too quickly, adding further loose ends and unresolved issues.
This episodic structure does give the film a pace that is representational of Alfie's dating life constantly moving from one thing to another, never letting anything unfold but this does not work to the advantage of the film. Rather than giving it an interesting structure that parallels the story, it creates confusion and disorientation, and even worse than that a loss of the empathy for the characters that would be present if the film took the time to develop characters and stories properly.
In fact, just about everything in the film lacks conviction, particularly in the places where it is needed the most; moments that should provoke emotion tend to leave the audience wanting something more substantial, which once again is an issue with the film's poor use of development.
If it weren't for Jude Law's charming performance as Alfie Elkins, the film would collapse entirely under its own poor craft. Of course, this is not at all to say that Law saves the film; he does nothing of the sort. His performance, strong as always, just happens to stop the film from being a complete waste of time. His energy is strong and his talent is clear, but it is not enough to bring the film to that next level of quality.
The photography and cinematography, while positively beautiful at times, is staggeringly inconsistent and often not at all fitting to the film's needs. Portions of the film are very nicely photographed, which almost seems like a waste of talent. A spiffy paint job on a car may be appealing to the eye, but why even bother if the car doesn't have an engine? This is precisely what Alfie is all about: some nice looks and a fairly strong performance, but sadly there is no engine to be found.
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