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Review: Wicker Park (2004)

Director: Paul McGuigan | 114 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Josh Hartnett, Rose Byrne, Matthew Lillard, Diane Kruger, Christopher Cousins, Jessica Paré, Vlasta Vrana, Amy Sobol, Ted Whittal, Isabel Dos Santos,

Even though the idea for this story isn’t terribly original, it could certainly produce an interesting movie. Unfortunately, that did not work with “Wicker Park”. At the beginning of the film, we see Matthew in a restaurant, where he meets up with his fiancé Rebecca and some business people. When he wants to use the public telephone in that restaurant, he suddenly thinks he recognizes the voice of Lisa, his old love. From then on we see endless flashbacks at every moment of recognition, showing how Matthew and Lisa met, how beautiful Matthew and Lisa were, how much fun they had together, et cetera.

You are indeed captivated by the story for a while, if only because you want to know how it all works in the end. But the way the is told is quite misleading, and in some parts downright boring. Misleading, because the film suggests that it is a thriller, partly because of the exciting music and slow images, so that you as a viewer are always waiting for something exciting to happen. But nothing exciting happens, as is the case in films like “Memento” or “Single White Female”, with which “Wicker Park” seems to have some similarities. The storytelling style in “Memento” was original and actually required concentration from the viewer, the plot twist was really surprising. In “Wicker Park” the covers at the end are surprising in a way, but it was already coming. In addition, you would understand this film if you were watching with half an eye or doing other things in the meantime. This is a shame, because if the whole movie were like the last part, “Wicker Park” would have been a lot more interesting. But because you eventually get a bit bored by the incredibly long starting piece, you can not really get into it. Too much is explained, too much shown, in the flashbacks and in the scenes from the present.

The strange thing is that while a lot is made abundantly clear in the film, it seems as if some things in the never return, which in turn raises questions, or gives the impression that those things have been run down a bit. An example is the mysterious friend, or lover, of the second Lisa. While he looks up from the street so frightening, when Matthew is inside with Lisa, we hear very little of him further in the film. We also only see Matthew’s current fiancé again, if she is dumped just as quickly, which gives the impression that we only see her because she had to come back in the script again, albeit functionless.

If you watch the purely as a drama, with a slightly surprising twist and storytelling style, there is not even much wrong with ‘Wicker Park’, but it does not get really exciting or original, also thanks to the passionless love scenes and the clichéd Hollywood scene. end.

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