Wicker Park (film)

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Wicker Park
Wicker Park movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul McGuigan
Produced by Gary Lucchesi
Andre Lamal
Marcus Viscidi
Screenplay by Brandon Boyce
Based on L'Appartement 
by Gilles Mimouni
Starring Josh Hartnett
Rose Byrne
Diane Kruger
Matthew Lillard
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Peter Sova
Edited by Andrew Hulme
Production
company
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates September 3, 2004 (2004-09-03)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $21,568,818

Wicker Park is a 2004 American psychological drama/romantic mystery film directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Josh Hartnett, Rose Byrne, Diane Kruger and Matthew Lillard. The film is a remake of the 1996 French movie L'Appartement, which in turn is loosely based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream.[1][2][3] It was nominated for the Grand Prix at the Film Festival of Montreal, the city in which the movie was partially filmed.[1]

The title refers to the Wicker Park neighborhood on Chicago's near northwest side.

Plot[edit]

Matt Simon, a young advertising executive, returns to Chicago with his fiancée, Rebecca, after spending the last two years in New York. He bumps into his old friend Luke on the way into a meeting at Bellucci's, in preparation for a business trip to China. Once inside he thinks he overhears Lisa, the beautiful dancer he was in love with two years ago when she vanished overnight. He tries to catch her as she leaves, but is brought up short by Rebecca, so he ducks out of the trip and embarks on an obsessive search for her, as the story of Matt and Lisa's romance unfolds in flashbacks.

The key card Lisa left at Bellucci's leads Matt to a hotel where he finds Lisa's silver compact and an article marked in a newspaper. He leaves a note for Lisa at Bellucci's, then asks to borrow Luke's car, promising to return it before nightfall. He trails the man from the newspaper article to an apartment, where he discovers a note to Lisa with her key enclosed under the door. The apartment is deserted but Matt leaves her a note himself, to meet him in Wicker Park, and keeps the key. By the time Matt returns the car he is ecstatic because he thinks he has found Lisa, but Luke is furious, because he had a date with a woman named Alex, who won't wait. When Alex calls, Matt takes all the blame and Luke is mollified.

The next day, after waiting in vain at Wicker Park, Matt goes back to the apartment where he is caught by a brunette woman who says that her name is Lisa. She says the apartment is hers, and she has a coat and red-soled shoes with a broken heel identical to Lisa's - shoes that came from Luke's shop, where Lisa first met Matt. She claims the man in the newspaper was stalking her, which is why she was at the hotel, and asks him to stay the night. They end up sleeping together, but after she leaves for work, he arranges to catch another flight to China and drops the key down a grate. Flashbacks reveal that she is actually Alex, Lisa's old neighbor and friend, and an aspiring actress. We learn that Alex saw Matt and fell in love with him, but before she found the courage to speak to him he fell in love with Lisa. She had told Lisa that she was interested in someone but never told her who he was, even after she realized Lisa had become involved with Matt. In truth, the man from the newspaper was stalking Lisa, and Alex agreed to swap apartments with her for a few days before Lisa leaves for a new job in London.

Luke persuades Matt to come with him that night to see Alex perform in Twelfth Night, before he leaves for China. She is unrecognizable in stage makeup, but panics after she sees him in the audience with Luke, until Luke tells her Matt has left for China. Matt, having retrieved the key from the grate earlier, returns to the apartment where he spends the night. Alex sleeps at Luke's that night, and when Matt calls Luke she answers the phone, and drops it in a panic. She hears Luke say Matt is at the apartment, and runs out to catch him. After she leaves, Lisa calls. When Alex arrives at the apartment, Matt gives her another pair of red-soled shoes but they are too big. She realizes he suspects something, but Matt says he can exchange them and they go their separate ways.

Matt goes to say goodbye to Luke, but follows him into Bellucci's, where he finds Alex, and her deception is revealed. She admits she was in love with Matt, and wound up doing crazy things. Two years ago, the same day that Matt asked Lisa to move in with him, Lisa was offered a last minute job touring with Cabaret in Europe and she had to jump on a plane. Lisa gave Alex a note to deliver to Matt, along with a key to his apartment. Instead, Alex kept the note and deleted all the messages Lisa had left for him on his answering machine. He never learned why Lisa left, and Alex told Lisa that she'd found Matt with another woman. Luke interrupts, telling Matt that Lisa called, and wants him to meet her at three o'clock at Wicker Park before she leaves for London. Matt heads to Wicker Park, but is too late. He races to the airport, where he bumps into Rebecca, who has come to pick him up from the business trip to China that he never went on. He announces that he still loves someone else, and she leaves, while Lisa crouches nearby on the phone listening to Alex confess what she has done. As Lisa hangs up and begins to cry, Matt spies her through the crowd. He starts crying too, and when he comes up behind her, she turns around and they embrace.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Calling L'Appartement "among the most absorbing and ingeniously constructed thrillers in years," Variety noted that the film "was tapped for a Hollywood redo almost immediately," but then went into development hell with multiple directors (Joel Schumacher, Steven Spielberg, Joan Chen and Danny Cannon) and stars (Brendan Fraser, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Paul Walker) attached at different times.[1]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Wicker Park has received generally negative reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 25% based on reviews from 134 critics, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 10.[4]

Main criticisms are directed towards the film's convoluted plot and unconvincingly implausible coincidences. The Associated Press says, "the characters do incredibly stupid things simply for the sake of plot contrivance."[5] The Arizona Republic calls it "a film with more unbelievable coincidences than a Henry Fielding novel, more plot holes than a Swiss cheese and populated with the stock characters of that Hollywood world, that cinematic parallel universe."[6] McGuigan's direction is also criticised, with the Denver Rocky Mountain News saying he "seems to have invested more in the youth and glamour of his cast than in a plausible and exacting script", whereas The New York Times says "Directorial touches can't do much to salvage a project as poorly conceived as this one."[7]

Though calling the film inferior to L'Appartement, Scott Foundas wrote in Variety that both Wicker Park '​s directing and screenplay were faithful to the French original, praising the way the film's second half "jumps back and forth in time and shifts between various characters’ points-of-view, until finally the disparate pieces of the pic’s fragmented puzzle come together."[1] He added:

And while cynical viewers will no doubt suggest that pic’s entire mystery could be remedied with a single e-mail or cell phone call, the same might be said for Vertigo, and there’s something refreshing and timeless about the way Wicker Park allows its characters to rely on their own wits rather than those increasingly common technological aids.[1]

The non-linear narrative received a mixed response. In a mixed review, The Boston Globe says, "The preview audience I saw it with hooted in disbelief at the outrageous bits, then happily dug in to see what would happen next."[8] Conversely, The Washington Post says, "This is a smart movie, full of astonishing reverses and switchbacks, and it adroitly walks the thin line between too clever by half and not clever enough by three-quarters."[9] In a favourable review, Roger Ebert says Wicker Park "works because the actors invest their scenes with what is, under the circumstances, astonishing emotional realism."[10]

Wicker Park was nominated for the Grand Prix des Amériques at the Montreal World Film Festival, the city in which the movie was partially filmed.[1]

Box-office gross[edit]

Filmed on a budget of $30 million, Wicker Park grossed only $21.6 million worldwide.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Foundas, Scott (September 4, 2004). "Review: Wicker Park". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Canavese, Peter. "Wicker Park". Groucho Reviews. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ Hartmann, Erica. "Wicker Park is a Wicked Ride". Silver Chips Online. Montgomery Blair High School. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Wicker Park (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Kehr, Dave (September 3, 2004). "Eerie Shots, à la Vertigo, but No Sign of Stewart". The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^ "Wicker Park". the-numbers.com. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]