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?
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