Review by Gordon Justesen
Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Omar Epps, Nia Long, Jane Krakowski, Sienna Miller,
Director: Charles Shyer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 105 Minutes
Release Date: March 15, 2005
never mean to hurt anyone...but
you do, Alfie."
The year was 1966, and a quite young Michael Caine was turned into a star
overnight with his lead role in a little movie called Alfie. The story
involved a young cocky womanizer whose careless actions of wooing endless
parades of women get the better of him. It's a comedy, and a very human one, but
it's one where real drama manages to take a crucial grasp in the second half.
Nearly forty years down the road, Alfie has been remade with glitzy
style by way of director Charles Shyer. The setting has been thoughtfully
transported from swinging London to modern day New York. What's more, the lead
role couldn't have been cast better, with charismatic Jude Law providing a pitch
perfect performance as the smooth talking womanizer.
Law is indeed the best actor for the role, and he is the definitive match
to what Michael Caine was back when the original was made. He has both the charm
and ridiculous good looks that make you believe that he could woo as many women
as he so desires. We can also buy into the notion that a guy like this would be
in love with his ego regarding being a true ladies man.
Alfie (Law) is a British-born playboy residing in Manhattan, where he
believes that beautiful women from all over the world can be found without
looking very hard. Working as a limo driver, Alfie indulges in frequent
escapades with the many attractive women he drives around town. What Alfie fails
to realize is the very thing that will be the end of him in terms of being
He's currently in a steamy fling with Dorie (Jane Krakowski), a married
woman who doesn't get the physical love from her husband, which Alfie provides.
It seems that after every fling, Alfie finds himself making spontaneous stops by
the home of Julie (Marisa Tomei), who's the one woman that he happens to really
care for, but gives into the life rule of never committing, especially with a
Alfie's conniving ways soon start to catch up with him in the midst of two
unexpected events. The first is a visit to the doctor where he is informed of a
possible disease contraction. The second is to find himself in a fling with
Lonette (Nia Long), the girlfriend of his best friend, Marlon (Omar Epps).
Their relationship is on the rocks, and following the night of his secret
fling with her, Alfie is stunned when Marlon says their getting back together.
As a result of this, Alfie feels as if he can do no wrong. He sees the hook up
with Lonette as the gateway to her and Marlon continuing onward.
On a downside note, Julie has possibly given up on Alfie waiting forever
to commit. Not realizing that his true key to happiness has just been thrown
away, two more women enter Alfie's life, and two very different women at that.
There's ultra sexy model Nikki (Sienna Miller), and strong willed businesswoman
Liz (Susan Sarandon), who owns her own empire and happens to enjoy much younger
Alfie engages in a strong affair with Nikki, which suits him fine at
first. However, once Nikki reveals intense mood swings, it challenges his
thoughts of staying with her. Liz, on the other hand, proves to be much
enjoyable to what Alfie likes in a good physical relationship, but a secret
about her manages to slap him in the face.
This is another remake where I have not seen the original source material.
My only regret in these matters is that I wonder if my opinion of the film at
hand would be different. What I can say is that this Alfie is a most
engaging character study focusing on a man who believed his gift for wooing
countless women accounted for pure happiness in life, only to discover that his
actions have robbed him of any possible happiness with women.
What a year 2004 was for Jude Law. With countless films, including Sky
Captain, I Heart Huckabees, Closer, and The Aviator, just to name a
few, in addition to this, Law has had one of the busiest years of any actor, in
addition to maybe Ben Stiller. What's even more astonishing is that each of
those films were superb pieces of work, and Alfie can be added to that
list, because it's the one film out of the list where Law's charisma takes
At the time of the original movie's release, the term "male chauvinist pig"
wasn't in existence. Nowadays, MCP is in high existence (trust me, I happen to
have known a few myself), and Alfie qualifies as an ideal remake and
character study to fit the times grandly.
Splendid, absolutely splendid! Paramount's anamorphic offering is as rich
and stunning as the women in Alfie's life. Director Charles Shyer eludes an
ultra-stylistic atmosphere for the film, which is superbly reflected in the
outstanding video presentation. Image quality is as clear as a bell, with tones
for both night and day shots appearing terrifically. Colors are most vibrant, as
well. Most outstanding!
I really wasn't expecting the level of sound that I got with this 5.1 mix.
I expected nothing more than spoken words, delivered in terrific tone, of
course. The NYC setting allows for some nice leveled surround sound with various
set pieces making good use of the channels. The dialogue is delivered most
wonderfully, and the winning soundtrack, complements of none other than Mick
Jagger and Dave Stewart, provides the striking bonus of the overall
Paramount delivers the goods with a marvelous Special Collector's Edition
release. To start with, there are two commentary tracks;
Writer/Director Charles Shyer and Film Editor Padraic McKinley, the second with
Shyer and Writer/Producer Elaine Pope. Also included is a "Round Table": a
discussion of the film's production, hosted by Writer/Director Charles Shyer.
Three featurettes; "The World Of Alfie", "The Women Of Alfie" and "Alfie:
Deconstruction Of A Scene". Dance footage with costar Gedde Watanabe with
optional commentary by Charles Shyer and Elaine Pope, a soundtrack featurette
titled "Let The Music In", which looks at the recording sessions with Mick
Jagger and Dave Stewart. Lastly, there are Deleted Scenes with optional
commentary by Charles Shyer and Padraic McKinley, a Theatrical Trailer/bonus
previews, a script gallery, production gallery and storyboard gallery.