Don’t get your hopes up too much with this Tall, Dark Stranger--–while this latest effort from the prolific occasional expatriate is a vast improvement over Whatever Works, it’s still a minor entry in the Woody Allen oeuvre. The assorted characters in this London-based opus are all in the midst of questioning their life choices or in the aftermath of having made some poor ones. Anthony Hopkins has left his wife to marry a much younger female who enjoys “the good life,” one which Hopkins is hardpressed to supply-- either financially or physically. Meanwhile Hopkins’ daughter Naomi Watts is unhappily married to a creatively stalled author (Josh Brolin) who has his eye on the comely–and engaged-- lass across the way (Frida Pinto). While all this is going on, Hopkins’ ex-wife Gemma Jones) has been consulting a psychic who leads Jones on the path to emotional and spiritual fulfilment–even if it means tossing a few curve balls in the process.
There are a number of good performances on display here: Hopkins does a fine job as the senior swain whose life is slowly being sucked dry; Watts and Antonio Banderas ( as Watts’ boss, a married gallery owner) share some well-played scenes; Gemma Jones is touching as the wife who decides to let fate guide her. Brolin however seems a little off as the struggling author–there are certain scenes where it seems like the actor doesn’t believe in what he’s saying. In the end, Allen doesn’t supply easy resolutions for anyone (except for Jones), but I don’t think you’ll be waiting for the sequel.