Published Sep 01, 2004Another addition to the growing trend of Hollywood lazily remaking successful foreign films, Wicker Park takes the 1996 French hit L'Appartement and dumbs it down for a North American audience. The film revolves around Matthew (Josh Hartnett), a photographer/advertising executive who blows off work and his fiancée (Jessica Paré) after he thinks he catches a glimpse of a former lover who had disappeared years before. He spends days roaming the streets of Chicago (and Montreal pretending to be Chicago) desperately trying to track her down and indulging in many flashback memories of his former life with the lovely Lisa (Diane Kruger).
It's more complicated than it seems, with Matthew finding himself at the centre of a web of lies and deceit that he has to sort through. It's a bizarre story about the nature of obsession that has is cleverly constructed, keeping a sense of mystery and surprise until the truth is finally revealed (after which point it drags and limps to its inevitable conclusion). The dialogue is pretty lame though, trying really hard to be deep in a way that probably sounded better in French, and the characters are never developed into real people.
Paul McGuigan's (Gangster No. 1) directing is slick and stylish but sometimes too much so, trying too hard to compensate for the lackluster script. Josh Hartnett is fairly vapid in the lead role and Diane Kruger is beautiful but removed as the object of his affection. Both are pretty but far less interesting than the film's other duo, a subdued Matthew Lillard as Matthew's friend Luke and Rose Byrne as the mysterious other woman. (MGM)