"Wicker Park" falls flat

Sept. 7, 2004, midnight | By Grace Harter | 17 years, 4 months ago

"Wicker Park" is the latest in a series of Hollywood remakes. Adapted from the original French film "L'Appartement," the film starts out with an enticing plotline only to trip over its own feet when the twist is finally revealed.

Josh Hartnett plays Matthew, a young businessman who has recently returned to Chicago after living in New York City for two years. Matthew is dating his boss' sister Rebecca (Jessica Pare) and just about to embark on a big trip to China for his company. During a goodbye dinner at a restaurant, however, he catches a glimpse of a woman he thinks to be his long lost love, Lisa (Diane Kruger).

Obsessed with finding Lisa, Matthew delays his trip to China and enlists the help of his best friend Luke (Matthew Lillard) to find her. Things get even weirder when Matthew enters Lisa's apartment with a key found under her door and is surprised to find another woman there. The woman (Rose Byrne) claims her name is Lisa. Matthew begins to notice disturbing things, like how this second Lisa has the same shoes and clothes as his lost lover and how her manner towards him is creepy, almost obsessive.

Matthew must find out who this new Lisa is and what she knows about his lost girlfriend. The first half of the film is dramatic and fascinating; the twist is greatly anticipated. As the drama unfolds, however, the movie begins to get more and more ridiculous until it's clear the writer probably spent more time on the dramatic build-up than the actual resolution.

There are too many twists, turns and tricks to keep this story straight. Flashbacks often come without warning, and the jumpy editing style, complete with split-screens, gets tiresome very early in the film. The only interesting thing about the way the movie was shot is that it often shows scenes over again but from different angles to give a different character's perspective on the scene.

The film also glosses over a lot of important things, like why Matthew gave up looking for Lisa the day she disappeared just because he didn't receive any messages from her. People who claim to be so in love would hopefully care much more about each other than is displayed in the film.

The movie does have a few saving graces, though. Matthew Lillard is endearing and often funny while Josh Hartnett does a respectable job portraying confusion and grief during the movie's ordeals. Rose Byrne is fabulous; she manages to pull off a lot of her character's hysteria without going over the top. The only weak one in the cast is Diane Kruger, who's so bland and unappealing it's a wonder that Matthew is so in love with her.

"Wicker Park" promises a stunning conclusion but fails to deliver. The movie collapses under the weight of all its plot twists and makes less and less sense as it moves along. Yes, the ending is unpredictable, but thathardly matters as the movie tends to ignore a little thing called reality.

"Wicker Park" (115 minutes) is rated PG-13 for sexuality and language.

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Grace Harter. Grace Harter is currently a CAP senior at Blair. She loves anything British, books, music, movies and of course Silver Chips Online. She'd like to close with a quote from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" that is especially profound (and makes reference to her ultimate favorite … More »

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