4 out of 10
When we're 18, we escape the chains of parental control to do whatever we like ...and spend the rest of our lives paying for it. One minute your the fresh young face every girl and every employer desires, then, suddenly, one day, they say you're "middle aged", no-one wants you, nothing seems fresh and new any more and you have to start paying the "bill" for all the excess.
"Alfie" is a remake of "What's It All About, Alfie?", an ingenious film of the 1960's which was, effectively a modern day morality play that shocked audiences with it's candid and graphic portrail the consequences of the loosing of morals that the era brought, following the bedhopping of Alfie, a free-wheeling London boy who is always out looking for charming another piece of skirt into half an hour of passion.
In an almost unique, and extraordinarily weird style, the film proceeds in an almost documentary style as Alfie talks directly at the camera, giving his most innermost thoughts on everyone and everything with all those surrounding him utterly oblivious to the chatter. "Weather Girl" is the only similar film which I can think of, and like that, "Alfie" required a truly glittering performance by the title role actor... and got it! Just as "Weather Girl" became a showcase for Nicole Kidman's genius, so too Alfie stamps Jude Law on one's personna as one of the truly great actors of our time with acting that is truly in a league of its own. Even so, it is easy to ignore the amazing achievements of the supporting cast who have had to proceed unaffected as Alfie is openly trashing them to the camera. A mixed bag, they include a number of unknowns like Sienna Miller as well as past Oscar-winners, Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei (once again as the long-stuffering New York girlfriend with angst - about the 429th time she's played it in a row) and Jane Krakowski in an all-too-brief and lowly role for someone who has so proven herself on screen, TV and stage.
With all its sex and scandal, the original film deeply shocked audiences in the 1960's on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, with "smoking up", group sex, lesbianism and children the result of wife-swapping, not only out of the closet, but a hotbed of discussion over political rights, the whole movie is seems quaint and almost wide-eyed innocent in its approach. Perhaps all of us, the entire world in fact, has grown up and nothing is fresh any more as we all struggle to pay the bill for last few decades of excess.
Brilliantly acted remake of a film that is just too quaintly out of it's era
Film Critic: - Robert L Thompsett