He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved
Running Time: 96 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
If youre even vaguely-familiar with the sort of movies Woody Allen has continued to churn out on a near-annual basis since the end of the 60s, you wont find anything remotely surprising about Manhattan. Its an above-average piece of work, in which Allen takes centre stage, and again, no shocker here plays a neurotic overly-analytical Jew who attracts the attentions of women far more attractive than himself and goes on to exchange various witticisms with them. Oh, and of course, it all takes place in New York, not just the centre of Allens universe, but Allens universe in its entirety.
Hes the goggle-eyed Isaac Davis, a man who you cant help but feel is supposed to be taken as much more handsome and appealing than he actually is (again, its not an unusual component for a Woody film). When we meet him hes dating Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a 17-year-old schoolgirl who, strangely, appears to genuinely adore him. But its not long before we switch love interests to Mary (Diane Keaton), a considerably more mature woman whos torn between Isaac and his bezzie mate Yale (Michael Murphy).
Manhattan is often considered the Woodsters finest hour-and-a-half, but great it aint. Theres lots of walking and talking, mumbling and stuttering, and general scrutiny of many an overblown triviality (yup, more Allen staples) – but, while at times mildly humorous, its not a nice film to get involved in. Although it doesnt follow the turgid formula fallen back on by so many of todays rom-coms, Isaac isnt a character I ever wanted to relate to. By the time the films over hes gone from a bit self-engrossed to outright selfish, his intentions never seem motivated by any sort of decency, and none of his romances are particularly convincing.
In fact, the best two things about the movie are the parts not even credited to Allen George Gershwins music and Gordon Willis cinematography. But, with half an hour to go, Id already had enough of it.
It's Got: A totally unnecessary 15 certificate by todays standards its all pretty tame.
It Needs: To be watched on a wide-screen TV otherwise the at-times peculiar framing is likely to cause problems.
DVD Extras A trailer, and thats your lot. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10
Beautifully shot, musically marvellous, and nowhere near as good as its often made out to be.