Well-dressed self-confessed fashion-whore Alfie, slips on 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 and more romantic relationships than most men can remember. He’s Mr Full Service, a limo-driver and a love-machine. And although audiences could have easily felt that Alfie was all too familiar, Jude Law takes ownership of the role infusing his character with real life and verve.
It’s a performance made even more impressive not only by Law’s feature-length deliverance of first-person, straight to the camera, stream of consciousness narration but by the fact that he appears in virtually every frame. Convincing with admirable assurance from happy carefree philanderer, to distraught and tortured loser, Law’s central performance is magnificent.
And they are feelings that director of photography Ashley Pope effectively mirrors with his cinematic palette. Warm reds, oranges and yellows fade to washed-out blues and muted greens as Alfie’s mood and situation change. Whilst a soulful jazz score underscores both moments of levity and pain.
Charles Shyer’s snappy direction keeps the tone fairly light whilst standout moments include Law’s Singing in the Rain-esque puddle-splash and Alfie’s divine meeting mid-movie; delightfully represented by a stroll along a quiet beach with a wise old friend.
By the end, whilst the subtle placement of the words such as search, wish and desire into the subtext of the film have highlighted key plot elements the introspective tagline of “what’s it all about?” remains, at least partially, unanswered. Shyer flirts with a downbeat ending but when Jude Law flashes that perfect smile we know he’ll always bounce back.