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Wicker Park

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Wicker Park

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Rose Byrne
Director: Paul McGuigan
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 115 Minutes
Release Date: September 2004
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense

*Also starring: Diane Kruger, Matthew Lillard, Jessica Pare, Stefanie Buxton, Christopher Cousins, Gillian Ferrabee, Marcel Jeannin, Stephen Milton, Erika Rosenbaum

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

Back in 1996, there was this dandy French thriller called "L'Appartement" which screenwriter Brandon Boyce ("Apt Pupil") and director Paul McGuigan ("The Reckoning") have adapted into this melancholy, lightweight, less-than-thrilling stalker tale set in snowy Chicago.

Bland Josh Hartnett, who was given a big publicity push as Hollywood's next big heartthrob in "Pearl Harbor" and "Hollywood Homicide," stars as Matthew, a morose, lovesick dolt. Just before embarking on an important business trip to Shanghai, this young investment banker overhears a conversation in a restaurant phone booth and thinks he recognizes his long-lost love Lisa (Diane Kruger a.k.a. Helen in "Troy"). Desperate to track her down, he jettisons his current fiancée (Jessica Pare) and career to find this woman, a dancer, who vanished without a trace two years earlier. But the Lisa he discovers is a different person. She's an actress named Alex (Rose Byrne), the girl-friend of Luke (Matthew Lillard), who's Matthew's best-friend. Confused? Yeah.

The fragmented action of this frenzied psychological drama about jealousy, betrayal and improbable coincidences jumps back and forth in time, reflecting different character's points of view. The title comes from the Chicago neighborhood in which all this occurs, even though much of the filming was done in Montreal. In a subtle tribute to writer/director Gilles Mimouni's "L'Appartement," the pivotal restaurant is called Belluci's, since that film starred Monica Belluci and Vincent Cassel, and Paul McGuigan evokes memories of Hitchcock's camerawork. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Wicker Park" is a convoluted, obsessive, exasperating 4. "Love makes people do crazy things" says one character. And this "sticky wicker" is one of them.

Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger

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