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Manhattan Murder Mystery


Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have been married for many years, and their lives aren’t as exciting as they once were. They live in New York, they’re intellectuals, they make good money and they’ve spent a lot of time with shrinks. They still love each other, but they might be tempted to have affairs. Allen’s editing the book of a sensual, brilliant woman played by Anjelica Huston, while Keaton is getting closer and closer to her male friend Ted, who’s much less neurotic and more brave than her husband. Mmm. Looks just like a typical Woody Allen film about love and marriage. Well, guess again, because before long, the plot thickens. Keaton and Allen spend an evening with an old couple who lives down the hall and the next day, Mrs House is found dead, seemingly after a heart attack. But to Keaton, it seems odd that Mr House doesn’t seem that sad about all that, and she doesn’t remember his wife mentioning anything about heart problems. Keaton soon leads Allen, Ted and Huston to help her figuring this murder mystery out.

The film is extremely well written, and the crime depicted is classical yet darn clever. The plot could have become an interesting Alfred Hitchcock thriller, but this is Woody Allen, and his take on the genre is much different. Even as the characters get into dangerous situations and discover clues, it’s more funny than scary. When fearful neurotic Allen and careless Keaton argue, they still have the same incredible chemistry they had in the “Annie Hall” days, and the film is often hilarious. If there’s one thing exceptional about Allen’s cinema beside his insightful writing, it’s the flawless performances he gets out of his cast. The acting is so good that the camerawork ain’t even important. Most of the shots are long and filmed with a shaky handheld camera. The mirror room finale looks real cool though, a bit like the climax of “Enter the Dragon”… minus the kung fu, the metal claws and Bruce Lee, of course!