Caine's Alfie Male
Simple question, what sort of mood are you in? It's an important question if you are considering watching Michael Caine in 1960s classic "Alfie". The importance of it is that if all you want is to be entertained then "Alfie" will do that but if you have never watched it before you will be left wondering why so many love it so much. The simple reason is that "Alfie" as well as being amusing is also quite deep and there are a lot of layers to the movie which require you to basically study the character of Alfie, how he uses women, how he says things and why he can't acknowledge certain things. As such to truly appreciate "Alfie" you need to be in the mood to become fascinated by the character and study who and what he is.
Alfie (Michael Caine - Inception) is a ladies man and he doesn't care who knows, he feels it is his place to put a smile on the wives of boring men. And the one thing Alfie doesn't want is commitment, he's happy to have a woman around but he's not going to be tied down by set meal times or having to return home each night. But then is that what life is all about Alfie?
So as already mentioned there are two sides to "Alfie", there is the simple entertainment and then the much deeper psychological level of the actual character. Now I have read a few interpretations of who Alfie is and it is amusing to read the depth of analysis some people go to, it's as if they are writing a report on a patient who visited them for therapy. So what is my take on the deeper elements of Alfie, well Alfie as a complex character with lots of issues and a seriously clever manipulator but I will leave it up to you to decide for yourself, if you want to that is.
Now on to the reason why I watched "Alfie", to be entertained and it does entertain even more so now when you consider the way Alfie acts is wrong in today's HIV world. You can't but help laugh whilst mid chat up line he throws a glance over his shoulder to give us a running commentary on the woman he is with. It is that, the style of Alfie talking directly to us in mid flow of a scene which makes it so amusing because not only is what he says funny but so is the way that he snaps back in to scene, in and out over and again without it interrupting the flow.
It is also Alfie's attitude and the way he goes about charming women, from a wife of someone he befriends to an American he meets in the streets. You know you should dislike Alfie for his attitude especially when it comes to the way he treats women, the way he controls them without seeming to control them but his cheeky personality makes us like him, he's the jack the lad of love.
It's not all humour and "Alfie" has a darker more dramatic side when Alfie is forced to face the consequences of his way of life and in contrast to the amusement it is quite dark. Considering when "Alfie" was made it is quite surprising what subjects are broached and this adds to the high impact of the drama which I won't explain because it will spoil the effect on when you watch it for the first time.
What is for sure is that "Alfie" whilst cleverly directed and written is a movie which not only established Michael Caine as a movie star but also works because of him. The way he gets across the shallow persona of Alfie is quite brilliant and it is because of this that when he has to deal with the repercussions of his ways that the impact is so high. But it is also the way that Caine pulls off the flicking between acting in a scene and talking to the camera, no one has done this better as he makes it seem so natural.
What this all boils down to is that "Alfie" is a movie which has a lot of depth and so if you are looking for a movie which you can analyse then it works brilliantly. But it also works as entertainment mixing humour and drama brilliantly thanks to what could quite possibly be Michael Caine's greatest performance.