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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Jude Law
Susan Sarandon
Sienna Miller
Marisa Tomei.
Directors
Charles Shyer.
Screenwriters
Bill Naughton
Charles Shyer
Elaine Pope
Elaine Pope
Charles Shyer.
Running Time
105 minutes

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Alfie
Jude Law slips into the remade shoes of the original swinger.


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Plot
Michael Caine's iconic, blue-collar womanising Londoner of the '60s today becomes Jude Law's sharp-suited Brit in New York, the freshly reinvented Alfie Elkins still employing his ladykilling skills on a variety of women.


Review
As a remake, Alfie doesn't so much invite comparisions with the original as rap on its front door and demand an RSVP. Well, if you wanted a post-new-lad, metrosexual, insert-achingly-trendy-style-mag-buzz-word-here Alfie for the Noughties, then director Shyer certainly doesn't get it disastrously wrong.

Despite some odd visual decisions (like the "message" billboards screaming words like "DESIRE", "WISH" and "SEARCH"), Shyer maintains a respectfully nostalgic style throughout, keeping the to-camera monologues, plonking Alfie on a retro moped and peppering the movie with jump cuts and split-screen montages.

Although, of course, this is supposed to be an update. So we have some inter-racial intercourse and a less heavy approach to the abortion scene (it doesn't require a nip down a backstreet, for one thing), while Alfie's health scare mutates from tuberculosis to a lump on the penis - the kind of thing Caine's '66 gadabout would never have let a doctor poke at.

Shyer shows remarkable restraint by not mentioning 9/11 once and keeping STDs out of the picture. But his decision to sidestep melodrama does mellow the consequences of Alfie's actions for the women he dallies with - a stronger set of characters than their '60s equivalents - which in turn lessens the impact their reactions have on our protagonist. Though, these being more touchy-feely times, Jude Law's slick, pretty-boy reincarnation is less icy and insensitive than Caine's wide-boy original, so we still have all the painfully confused "What's it all about?" soul-searching. Caine's Alfie may not have been as likeable as Law's, but his reality-check was undeniably more poignant, especially considering the period context; where Caine was shagging away under the ever-present threat of nuclear fall-out and trying to square his kid-in- a-candy-shop reaction to the sexual revolution with the impact of Women's Lib, Law is operating in a world of equal opportunity where therapy is everyday. His epiphanies, therefore, smack a little too much of whiney navel-gazing.

Still, the actor is adept enough to keep us engaged even through the more wallowy moments, while the female cast is consistently strong - especially Susan Sarandon and brassy newcomer Sienna Miller, whose topless zucchini-hacking (with a meat cleaver, no less) provides the most memorable scene. Ouch!


Verdict
A flawed but often well-handled showcase for Law's talents - even if he doesn't quite manage to Caine it.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Alfie
Empire Star Rating

Alfie

A cool, sexy , emotional well dressed film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 04:34, 05 December 2011 | Report This Post


Wat's it all about . ALLLLFFFIIEEE

Awsome. See wat happens when you sleep with to much women. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by elimonator at 13:30, 16 May 2007 | Report This Post


Alfie

Well-dressed self-confessed fashion whore Alfie slips into a Gucci shirt, ties his lace-up Pradas and splashes on expensive cologne. He's light on his feet and light on commitment. A natural charmer, a London-born scoundrel, living in Manhattan where all woman are available and conveyor-belt perfect. Alfie's as happy as a puppy with two tails, chalking up more romantic relationships than most men can remember. He's Mr Full Service, a limo-driver and a love-machine. Although audiences might fe... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kevin stanley at 21:12, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Alfie

one of the most boring films i've ever seen. i have absoloutley no idea who this is aimed at and can't understand how anyone would find it enjoyable. law's worst film to date...   * ... More

Posted by shawshank prisoner at 18:40, 29 August 2006 | Report This Post


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