Monday, July 2, 2012

Wicker Park (2004) [PG-13] ****

Matthew (Josh Hartnett) is an account executive at a Chicago advertising agency, although he's been working at the agency's New York office for two years, and has just returned to Chicago. He's practically engaged to his boss's sister (Jessica Paré), and he's about to leave on an important business trip to China. But while in a restaurant just before leaving, Matthew thinks he sees Lisa (Diane Kruger), a modern dancer and the love of his life, who unexpectedly walked out on him two years earlier and whom he's been searching for ever since.

What Matthew does not know, however, is that Alex (Rose Byrne) a close friend of Lisa's, has been obsessed with Matthew for the past two years. A pathological liar, Rose spied on the two lovers, then assumed Lisa's identity, seduced Matthew while carrying on a relationship with his best friend Luke (Matthew Lillard), and did her best to keep Lisa and Matthew apart.

This is a romantic mystery about obsessive love and how it can damage a number of lives. Josh Harnett is excellent as a man desperately trying to find his long-lost love, but it really is Rose Byrne's film, and she owns every scene in which she appears. Wicker Park is rather confusing upon first viewing; the film's time structure is not linear, but flips between present day and two years earlier, keeping us off balance and allowing clues to be revealed like pieces of a puzzle. The third-act tension is heightened because Matthew and Lisa cannot communicate directly. Lisa is on the run trying to evade an ex-boyfriend who's stalking her, and Matthew has a new cell phone, especially for his China trip, but Lisa doesn't know his cell number. This plot device was used because Wicker Park is a remake of the 1996 French film L'Appartement and cell phones weren't widely used in 1996. Film critics were not especially kind to Wicker Park; however audiences generally applauded the film. If you enjoy romantic mysteries like The Illusionist, you probably will enjoy Wicker Park

Labels: drama, mystery, romance    
Internet Movie Database     
Metacritic 40/100     
Tomatometer (critics=23, viewers=78)

The Scientist (Coldplay):
Wicker Park - Lisa and Matthew
Wicker Park - Final Scene

Strange and Beautiful (Aqualung):
Wicker Park - Alex and Matthew

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