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Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Wicker Park
Have you ever had the experience of seeing someone across a room who looks like someone you used to know? Or maybe you hear a snippet of conversation and the voice reminds you of someone you knew or know but haven't seen for a while?

And what if you can't get close enough to them to confirm or deny that it was the person you're thinking of. Would it drive you a bit crazy?

Crazy enough to miss a plane? Crazy enough to start an obsessive quest to find the person in question? Crazy enough to become a virtual stalker, steal a key and enter an apartment on the hopes of finding the person there? Or to find something of theirs and leave a note to contact you so you could just see that person one more time?

That series of questions is the basis for a movie I watched over the weekend, Wicker Park. Two years ago, Matthew met Lisa. He worked as a repair tech in a camera repair shop and saw a videotape of Lisa. He became obsessed with her--to the point that he follows her around and has his best friend, Luke, let him pose as a shoe salesman when Lisa comes in for a pair of shoes. Things are going very well, until Matthew asks Lisa to move in with him and she suddenly vanishes from his life. Two years later, Matthew has a job in New York but is preparing to move back to Chicago. He's dating a woman who he looks at rings for as the movie opens and he's got a great job. But a chance encounter with what he thinks could be Lisa in a restuarant leads him to wonder about the one who got away and to try and find some answers to why she vanished so abruptly from his life.

From the previews I've seen for Wicker Park, I went into the film assuming it'd be kind of a Fatal Attraction/stalker of the week movie. And during the second hour it does kind of descend into this kind of story a bit as we meet Alex, who...well, to you that might ruin a lot of the twists of the final hour or so of the film. Indeed, I was hesistant to sum up too much of the set-up of the film for fear of ruining some things--this is a movie that is full of twists, turns and surprises, all of them effectively and reasonably set up within the context of the movie. Oh sure, if you step back and play the let's inject some reality on it, you could ruin the fun of the film. It's almost a Mobius like structure of a move--with plots twisting and turning in on themselves. During the course of the film, we discover there are some huge coincidences in how things unfold and the nature of the story is that we slowly find out how one event leads to another to another in the film. It's not a linear storyline and it's one that assumes you can piece things together until we reach the final conclusion.

Wicker Park is a fascinating movie--one of the more fascinating movies I've seen lately. It comlpetely defied all my expectations of it and if you've only seen the preview and thought--yeah, that looks pretty silly, I think you're selling it a bit short. Yes, a lot of those elements from the preview are there, but you can't really sum up a movie that is this Mobius like in two minutes or less. In fact, after I watched the film, I watched the preview again (it was on the DVD) and it's interesting to see how snippets from the story are cut to try and sum up the film in two minutes or less.

Also, I will say the movie is well acted. At first, I thought Josh Hartnett was underplaying things too much--he seemed almost bored and phoning it in when we first meet Matthew. But as the film goes along, you begin to understand why Matthew is being played this way. The disconnect from most of his life becomes apparent as you watch the film. And the rest of the choices work well too--even Matthew Lilliard as his buddy Luke, who has an interesting role in the film. The two female leads also work well--though I kept looking at Diane Kruger and saying--I've seen her in something else. Turns out she was the female-lead in National Treasure. And Rose Bryne as Alex....well, let me just say you have to watch it to get it. To say too much is to give away the movie's ending.

I definitely think Wicker Park is worth a rental. It may suprise you. I know it surprised me.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/01/2005 08:43:00 AM | |
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