Wicker Park


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Rating: PG-13

Josh Hartnett as Matthew
Rose Byrne as Alex
Matthew Lillard as Luke
Diane Kruger as Lisa
Christopher Cousins as Daniel
Jessica Paré as Rebecca
Vlasta Vrana as Jeweller
Amy Sobol as Ellie
Ted Whittall as Walter
Isabel Dos Santos as Chamber Maid
Joanna Noyes as Mary

Special Features:
Commentary by director Paul McGuigan and Josh Hartnett

Deleted scenes

Gag reel

“Against All Odds” music video

Photo gallery

Original theatrical trailer

Soundtrack Spot

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

This is a remake of the 1996 French film “L’ Appartement”. The following is from the DVD cover:

“Enter the torrid and treacherous world of Wicker Park, where deception and seduction walk hand in hand. Starring an outstanding cast of Hollywood’s hottest young stars, including Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor), Rose Byrne (City of Ghosts), Matthew Lillard (Scream) and Diane Kruger (Troy), Wicker Park is a sizzling, action-packed noir thriller that will leave you breathless.

What if the woman you loved disappeared without a word? Without a trace? How far would you go to find her again? When Matthew (Hartnett) glimpses his lost love (Kruger) in a crowded café, he’s determined not to lose her a second time. But determination soon turns to obsession, as Matthew finds himself on a dangerous and chilling journey, where no one is who they seem…and chance meetings with a sexy brunette (Byrne) might unravel friendships, careers…and lives.”

Wicker Park is rated PG-13 for sexuality and language.

The Movie:
The cover of the Wicker Park DVD has the blurb “a dangerous, sexy thriller”. Well, there isn’t any danger in the film. There’s a little sexiness but it’s not really a thriller either. This is more of a soap opera than anything, but even soap operas can be entertaining and that’s the case with Wicker Park. This film is a romantic character drama. It has an inordinate number of flashbacks and it is at times quite confusing, but it does hook you and I found myself interested in seeing how it ended despite the gaping plot holes.

The story centers around Rose Byrne as Alex keeping young lovers Matthew and Lisa apart so that she can have Matthew for herself. It’s almost Shakespearean in style as you see Alex manipulating absolutely everyone in the film. But the whole time you keep wondering why Matthew and Lisa, two people supposedly in love, can’t seem to hook up over the phone or via e-mail despite Alex’s best efforts. The lengths to which the filmmakers go to keep the two apart becomes almost comical. Despite my better judgment, I found myself intrigued by the film and wanting to see how everything came crashing down around Alex when she was found out.

I think Rose Byrne as Alex is my favorite cast member of Wicker Park. Byrne is able to go from a shy, frumpy neighbor to a seductress with relative ease. She has the most emotional drama of any of the characters and the story centers around her manipulations. However, Josh Hartnett is the featured star of the movie as Matthew. Fans of his will be pleased with his screentime, but I found him to be a bit boring in the role. I never understood why Lisa or Alex would be so infatuated with him beyond his good looks. He didn’t exhibit much personality. The same goes for Diane Kruger as Lisa. Again, she’s a pretty face but I can’t see what the obsession is. Finally you have Matthew Lillard as Luke. Thanks to his big talk and rather unspectacular love life he’s a little bit more interesting than the main characters of the film.

The movie is quickly cut and it features all sorts of visual effects. The editing is frequently reminiscent of a music video. It’s OK in this movie but at times it seems a little like overkill. The constant flashbacks, especially at the beginning of the film, are a bit disorienting. There’s also a sub plot about a stalker that I don’t think was ever resolved.

If you’re a fan of Josh Hartnett or if you’re in the mood for a romantic drama / mystery, then I think Wicker Park will be of interest to you. But don’t examine the plot too much or it will likely fall apart upon inspection.

The Extras:
Here are the highlights of the bonus features:

Commentary by director Paul McGuigan and Josh Hartnett – This commentary is a little dry for my tastes. Hartnett and McGuigan sit back and enjoy the movie more than they deliver trivia and anecdotes about filming. There’s not a lot to learn here.

Deleted scenes – There are 11 deleted scenes included on the DVD. A few of them involve an apparently cut storyline about Lisa’s stalker. They show him following Lisa and eventually finding her only to walk away and end his relationship with her. It ends up being pointless and justifiably cut from the movie though there are still remnants of it left in the theatrical version. Another scene makes Alex seem a bit more snippy and evil towards Luke. Cutting that scene out makes her a little more sympathetic.

Gag reel – This gag reel is less than 2 minutes long and mainly features Matthew Lillard clowning around and Rose Byrne acting drunk during a scene (with Hartnett looking unamused).

“Against All Odds” music video – This music video shows a little more than just clips from the movie. It shows items disappearing from an apartment as the song plays. While it’s an interesting concept, the remake of the song isn’t quite as good as the original.

The Bottom Line:
Wicker Park is an interesting romantic mystery and drama, but it does feature some gaping plot holes and silly coincidences. Fans of Josh Hartnett will enjoy it, though.