Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Woody Allen, Ian McShane
Sondra Pransky (Johansson) is an American journalism student living in England and looking for her big break. She might have found it when the spirit of Joe Strombel, a recently deceased reporter (McShane), gives her information on a sensational case. A wealthy and popular young man might be behind a string of murders throughout the region. Now she’s looking into the life of the high-born and charming Peter Lyman (Jackman). Alongside Sid Waterman (Allen), a small-time magician, Sondra begins to get closer to Lyman in an effort to discover the truth about him.
Woody Allen (Annie Hall) does it all, and he does it often. This film is another example of his many skills, as he wrote, directed, and starred in this one. Like many of his other films, this one features a great cast of big actors. The cast includes Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Hugh Jackman (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and Ian McShane (Coraline).
This is a nicely written screenplay that carries the signature dialogue of Woody Allen all over it. The story is sometimes predictable, but that’s not important since the real charm comes through anyhow. The characters are unique and all tragically flawed in one way or another. The story also ignores any need to explain itself from the beginning to the end. This leaves the overall experience feeling whimsical and fantastic. Overall, a good example of Woody Allen’s genius.
The acting really captures the essence of the story. The characters feel like they were designed for the actors chosen to play them. Scarlett Johansson is especially good. She holds her own in this one with a brand of awkwardness almost as good as Allen’s. Together they create a nice chemistry that highlights the comedic moments in the movie. Hugh Jackman is also great in this one. Like Johansson, he holds his end up nicely when sharing the screen with Allen and the rest of the cast. Ian McShane is a favorite of mine, and he does a good job in his role as well. From an acting standpoint this is a really good movie.
This movie is simply made and filled with great moments. If you’re a fan of Allen, this is one worth checking out. This would also be a good introduction to his work if you’re unfamiliar. I would also recommend this to fans of the rest of the cast. This has great comedy built on the frame of a murder mystery. I give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.