Wicker Park

"Excellent"

Wicker Park Review


Wicker Park is a remake of a 1996 French film that nobody saw, called L'Appartement. Don't bother looking for it now; it's not available on DVD in the United States. If the premise of Wicker Park holds any interest with you, you'd best go see it soon, as the film is unfortunately destined to meet a similar fate as its predecessor.

Explaining the film - or even saying what genre it's in - is a bit tricky. Josh Hartnett plays a young ad executive named Matthew, who's obviously done well in parlaying a job as a camera repairman into a creative position in New York. Briefly back in his old home town of Chicago before jetting off to China, Matthew abruptly runs into old pal Luke (Matthew Lillard) and catches what he's sure is a glimpse of old girlfriend Lisa (Jessica Lange-lookalike Diane Kruger, last seen as Helen of Troy). Luke - on the cusp of marrying his boss's daughter (Jessica Paré) - is thrown into such a panic he blows off his trip overseas. What unfolds over the next two hours is the story of Luke and Lisa - how they met, how they abruptly split up, and the strange mysteries that are hidden in the past.

Matthew's desperate search for Lisa at once feels like a noir and a romantic drama - the mood is so confusing (and the constant time shifting between present and past don't help) that at one point my guest turned to me and asked if the movie was a murder mystery. It certainly feels like it's going to turn into one, with surprise revelations, water left running in hotel rooms, and creepy synth/xylophone music at every turn.

But at its heart, Wicker Park finally reveals itself to be a romance, just the strangest one you've ever seen. At its heart is a fourth character, played by Rose Byrne, who, for reasons of avoiding plot spoilers, I can neither describe or even give her character's name. Byrne is incidentally the prime reason you should see this movie: She imbues her character with all the uncertainty and obsession of a teenager who never really grew up. Lillard, who genuinely has never grown up, adds the perfect amount of comic relief to some serious goings on.

Amidst all its seriousness, it's a bit easy to dismiss Wicker Park as mere arthouse masturbation, and that's a fair criticism. But there's a je ne sais quoi about the film that transcends what might otherwise be mere art for art's sake and makes it pleasantly enjoyable. Try as you might to hate the wooden and pasty-faced Hartnett and the badly cast Kruger, you can't help but hope they find each other in the end. Really, though, it's Byrne who carries the movie on her shoulders. Though you're not even supposed to root for her, I wanted her to end up the happiest of the lot.

I've not been a fan of any of director Paul McGuigan's films to date (The Acid House, Gangster No. 1, The Reckoning), but this departure from movies about drugs and killing is an apt one. The atmospheric mystery he tries to create isn't perfect, but it's solid enough, and as a meditation on teen relationship angst writ large, it works. Give it a shot and soak it in.

The DVD release includes a large number of deleted scenes, a gag reel, and commentary by McGuigan and Hartnett.

On sale: Wicker furniture at Pier One.



Wicker Park

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd September 2004

Box Office USA: $12.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $13M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Lakeshore Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 100

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Matthew, as Alex, as Luke, as Lisa, Christopher Cousins as Daniel, as Rebecca, as Jeweller, Amy Sobol as Ellie, Ted Whittall as Walter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.