When Matthew (Hartnett) thinks he spots his long-lost lover Lisa (Kruger) in a café, he puts both his engagement and an important overseas business trip on hold. Chasing clues around the city, he remains one step behind her until he comes face-to-face with another, more enigmatic, more passionate Lisa (Byrne)...
Eight years after L’Appartement seduced audiences with its clever twists and sexy cast, along comes the American remake. Needless to say, something has been lost in translation.
The Hitchcockian flavours of the original don’t taste as sharp here, nor are the visual switches between past and present carried off with the same stylistic dash. And, let’s face it, even if Josh Hartnett could go toe-to-toe with Vincent Cassel on a good day, Diane Kruger will never be Monica Bellucci.
On the other hand, compared to the average multiplex-aimed romantic thriller, Wicker Park has much going for it, especially in the darker corners of the characters’ obsessions. For the most part the story’s twists and near-misses still hold surprises, and by the time Hartnett’s been led into temptation, most viewers unfamiliar with the original will be caught up in its sticky web.
After the promise of Gangster No. 1, director Paul McGuigan slipped up with The Reckoning. Wicker Park provides him with a deserved mainstream break into Hollywood, but he should remember that a lesser remake of a classy original is only half a calling card.
Aside from Rose Byrne’s complex performance, there’s nothing here that improves upon the original.