Wicker Park (2004)

(In theaters, August 2004) There is something interesting in how this romantic drama has all the trappings of a thriller without, in fact, being much of one. The somber pacing, the Hitchcock-inspired shots, the constant intimations that a psycho is on the loose may all contribute in making a vaguely creepy trailer, but they’re misleading in a way that becomes increasingly obvious as the film progresses. Oh, there’s much to applaud in the way the scenario is assembled, with flashbacks and dramatic ironies that make the viewer work in putting the story together. But once the story is put together, there just isn’t much left in terms of tension; just a dull love story that has no way of ending in a satisfying fashion. Acting-wise, John Hartnett once again proves that he is incapable to express any emotion beyond befuddlement. Matthew Lillard also once again proves an ability to triumph over lifeless material, mostly by acting in a different (but vastly more interesting) movie than the rest of the cast and crew. Otherwise, well, it’s not that Wicker Park is bad or all that dull, but that it falsely presents itself… and would have been vastly more entertaining had it been made as a comedy rather than a tepid drama with thriller aspirations.

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