Wicker Park

Wicker Park (2004)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Josh Hartnett, Diane Kruger, Jessica Pare, Matthew Lillard, Rose Byrne
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Music Video, Photo Gallery, Trailer

"Wicker Park" is one of those films I feel was marketed terribly. The trailer promoted a type of film it never actually was. Unfortunately I won’t go into great details about the story to explain my feelings only because it might reveal too much about the interesting plot. It’s safe to say the film is about love and obsession in the most innocent, yet stalker sort of way.

Basically a brief plot description of "Wicker Park" is that it revolves around four central characters. Matthew (Josh Hartnett) and Lisa (Diane Kruger) meet under unusual circumstances and begin dating. Periodically these events take place not in the beginning of the picture, but sporadically throughout the entire film. You see, the film starts off two years after Matthew and Lisa seemed to have gone their separate ways. Matthew is now engaged to Rebecca (Jessica Pare) and seems emotionally detached from his future wife. During a business dinner, Matthew has the certainty that he sees Lisa in the restaurant. This is where the strange events of the film begin to unravel. Matthew Lillard plays Matthew’s close friend Luke and Rose Byrne plays Alex, a beautiful lonely girl whose feelings for Matthew go a bit too far.

Being under the mindset that I wasn’t going to like this film at all, I actually found it fairly good. It’s not great by any means, but the acting is really good and I became more and more intrigued by the plot as it began to reveal more and more of what has and will actually happen to these characters.

Presented in its original <$PS,widescreen> theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, "Wicker Park" looks decent. Colors are nice and natural with flesh tones that have a realistic look to them. I especially liked that a lot of the framing focuses on the faces of the actors. Blacks are nice and rich adding a nice level of contrast to the picture. Unfortunately I found the image slightly soft in appearance and haloing is present in a few scenes. Edge enhancement is kept to a minimum but mainly do to the overall lack of sharpness. The image is nice but it’s not perfect. And given that the disc doesn’t have a lot of features, the 5-7 Mbps bit rate should have been higher.

I first have to comment how much I disliked the soundtrack to this picture. Its tempo was way off, especially during the love scene between Matthew and Lisa. The soundtrack was trying to hard to be hip and unique. Soundtrack aside, the <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> (448kbps) mix is good. Dialog is great and well balanced, always remaining understandable. As far as dynamics or bass response goes, there really isn’t any. Outside of the soundtrack and the dialog not too much occurs. For what it has to achieve it does it well. Just don’t expect to be blown away.

MGM Home Entertainment realized how large a bomb this film was at the box office, so it only makes sense that the features on this "Wicker Park" DVD are not all that great. Director Paul McGuigan and Josh Hartnett provide an <$commentary,audio commentary>. 11 deleted scenes are selectable, but unfortunately without any commentary. After viewing them I’m sure the director only cut them for running time. Most of the scenes are actually quite good and would have added a bit more to the film. The rest of the features are quite sad really. A Gag Reel, Music Video for a terrible cover of Phil Collin’s "Against All Odds," Photo Gallery, Soundtrack Spot, Trailer and MGM Trailers are what round out the rest of the disc. Sadly none of them are worth the time to watch.

"Wicker Park" is better than I expected although I wouldn’t recommend purchasing before seeing it first. The movie is a remake of "L’Appartement," a 1996 French film, but trust me, I’ve heard it’s better that you haven’t seen that film before watching "Wicker Park" only because it would spoil all the twists.