Throughout the years, the name Woody Allen has come to evoke a particular type of cinematic experience: clever, verbose dialogue; quirky, self-obsessed characters, and iconic cityscapes. However, the legendary director’s more recent offerings paint a picture of a filmmaker who seems to be less meticulous about the crafting of his works.
The circulation of an interesting rumour years ago gave an insight into Allen’s creative process. It was said that when the time comes for him to make a new film, he opens a drawer and randomly selects from the abundance of scripts he had penned over his prolific career. The randomness of this method, if true, may perhaps shed light on the impersonal and somewhat contrived nature of his more recent works.
His latest film “Coup de Chance,” a feature that was out of competition at the Venice Film Festival, still seems to maintain his signature style albeit in a disjointed manner. The film may have been a cohesive body compared to his most recent works, but it lacked the natural flow of dialogue that was a hallmark of his initial days.
“Coup de Chance” centres its plot in the picturesque city of Paris, arguably parallel to Allen’s own love for New York, but the dialogue doesn’t feel as seamless. The characters deliver sentences that feel overly complex and unnatural which disrupts the film’s flow.
Allen portrays Paris with an unrealistic brush, not capturing the essence of the city in a romanticized way. The dialogue and at-times awkward body language among characters is a miss, particularly during the film’s group scenes.
Woody Allen’s portrayal of the typical bourgeois class seems misaligned with the Paris setting. Conversations can feel like a transplantation from a New York-centric movie into a Parisian backdrop. The characterization and narrative seem to mimic his previous works, leaving audiences with a feeling of repetition and lack of freshness.
The film follows the expected course of action – infidelities, lies, and murder – and the recurring theme of chance and irony prevalent in Allan’s works. The execution, however, falls flat due to a lack of surprising elements combined with a somewhat stumbling narrative.
“Coup de Chance” narrowly escapes the label of being a Woody Allen parody, but it’s safe to say that it’s not his finest work [C].
Despite criticisms, the director still garners substantial support from certain sectors of the audience. Many outpoured their applause simply at the sight of his name on screen during a press screening— a clear act of defiance towards his critics and the supposedly burgeoning cancel culture.
Whether or not Allen acknowledges this surge of support remains uncertain. However, it is clear that he continues to operate within an arena of yes-men, which might have contributed to the lackluster execution observed in his recent works.
Step into the world of “Coup de Chance” with the trailer below:
Stay updated with our coverage of the 2023 Venice Film Festival.