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:: Alfie

Does it ever bother you that sometimes you can walk out of a film knowing that you enjoyed it, but then as soon as you step out of the cinema any lasting impression of the film just drops away? Alfie is just that kind of film. A remake of the 1966 Michael Caine classic, this version sees the title character (played perfectly by Jude Law), a womanizing playboy, transported from the streets of London to Manhattan. Alfie’s existence centers primarily on pleasure without responsibility, which manifests by shagging as many different women as he can without ever sticking around to let a real relationship form. Alfie is pretty sure he has it all figured out until some rather painful home-truths force him to question just how carefree his existence really is.

All of Alfie’s inner thoughts are communicated to the audience straight down the barrel of the camera, a convention that works on stage but can become a little tiresome when filmed. The Manhattan of this film is a highly romanticized vision, in which billboards rather unsubtly spell out a scenes subtext and where not only are all the people gorgeous but even a lowly chauffeur can afford a decent sized apartment. Making up the roster of Alfie’s lovers are Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Sienna Miller and Nia Long. It is a credit to these actresses that they imbue their relatively small roles with so much guts resulting in some really heartfelt moments.

But it is really Law’s film. Underneath Alfie’s swaggering bravado and undeniable charm is a fractured character that is not as sure of himself as he may first appear. It’s in these moments of true vulnerability that Law’s talent really shines. We all know that he is a capable leading man, but it’s his ability to make us believe that Alfie is just like the rest of us that makes him truly compelling. It’s a shame then, that the script can’t delve any deeper than an episode of Sex In The City to offer any real insight into the games men play. Potentially there is a good film in Alfie, but it seems to content to ride on the charm of its star.