Tuesday 18th January 2022

Alfie (15)
Directed by: Charles Shyer
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
Sienna Miller and Jude Law
Sienna Miller and Jude Law

Sir Michael Caine is one of the most famous, talented and celebrated actors that Britain has ever produced and we remember the classic films he starred in (not the stinkers) because of the incredible characters he brought to life. How many of you, for example, can remember the plot of The Ipcress File? But I bet many of you can quote some of his inimitable lines from The Italian Job, Zulu or Get Carter. The reason being, Michael Caine made those pictures successful - indeed he was the picture. So if you remake that picture without him in it, what are you left with?

Well, director Charles Shyer thought something was left, so he has revamped Alfie for the 21st century. This version is set in New York and sees the dashing Jude Law drive a limo by day and seduce a string of modern day honeys by night. As the events of the film unfold, like in the original, he begins to question his life as a cold-hearted philanderer.

The most impressive thing about this film is its faithfulness to the original, especially when compared to remakes like The Italian Job. Everything from the style of narrative to the story itself is very like the 1966 version, and even the clothing and set designs are subtly sixties-influenced. In fact I was really surprised by the faithfulness of this film, until I found out that the writer, Bill Naughton, was also the writer of the original Alfie!

As it turns out, this film isn’t too bad and I certainly don’t want to leave you with the impression that this film is awful – it isn’t. But it unfortunately adds nothing to the original. Which really begs the question, in "the Age of the Remake", why remake a good film? Surely that’s an uphill battle from the start? Why not remake a bad film, but make it better?

The Hollywood execs can ponder that one, but in the meantime this critic is struggling to advise anyone to see this re-imagining. If you’ve seen the original Alfie, then the only reason to watch this one is to see what the makers have done with it. If you haven’t seen the original, then you probably should. And if you don’t want to see the original, then why would you want to see the remake? Perhaps this is one for die-hard Jude fans only.

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Length: 103 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 22nd October 2004

Top Five Rating: 60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0% (60.0%)
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