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  • Writer's pictureJack Salvadori

Venice #80 - Coup de Chance

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

All good things must come to an end. Even the best ones - the ones we’re so used to that they end up becoming ordinary elements in our life. This one began in 1969, with Woody Allen’s directorial debut, the cult hit Take The Money And Run, setting him on a path that led him to become an icon. Since then, almost every year, we have had a date with Woody Allen - a chance to dive for an hour and half into his unique world of witty New York salons, Jewish humour at its finest, and existential ennui. The most prolific voice in American cinema, he has surely earned his retirement, and now, reaching his 50th film, he seems to have crossed the finish line.

For such a directorial achievement, he has decided to treat himself and shoot Coup de Chance in his favourite city, Paris, and for the first time entirely in French, a language he doesn’t speak (yet, he claims you can still tell good and bad acting nevertheless).

We find familiar elements from the director’s classic inventory: a writer in love, private eyes, suspicious minds, and hitmen. Similar in structure to Match Point, and also to his less successful Cassandra’s Dream, this time suspense is replaced with humour. In all these films he plays with fate, and how serendipitous events may have drastic consequences in our life. Such a belief is the perfect ground for irony, for no matter how tragic the goings-on may be, they leave the audience with a cynical smile, wondering at the curious twisted turns of luck. Sharp as always, Allen’s typewriter delivers a masterclass in characterisation, and in just a few minutes it feels like we have always known the protagonists.

Playfully shot by legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, the camera vigorously moves in long-takes and articulate movements, painting each shot with bold colours and a decisive poetic touch. Two old friends still having fun, and simultaneously two masters with still a lot to teach.

Coup De Chance is easily Allen’s best film in a decade, and I personally rank it in the director’s top 20. The plot twist, as usual, is pure genius, and it got an instant round of applause from the bemused audience that continued all the way till the credits started to roll on screen, showing, perhaps for the last time, the iconic Written & Directed by Woody Allen.

And if this is indeed the last time we’ll be graced with Woody’s magic, we can at least sigh with a bittersweet smile: he is going out with a bang.


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