Film reviews

Wicker Park, Dir; Paul McGuigan, Cert; 12a

Acclaimed Scottish director, Paul McGuigan (Acid House and The Reckoning), takes a world-class cast of actors on the task of producing one of the most intriguing screenplays I have had the benefit of seeing on the big screen in recent years, played back to the audience in what becomes clear is in no way going to be a straight forward tale. Each of the central characters (Josh Hartnell - Pearl Harbour, Black Hawk Down, Rose Byrne - Attack Of The Clones, Troy, Diane Kruger - The Piano Player, Troy and Matthew Lilliard - Scooby Doo, Scream) hold individual pieces of a very complex 'jigsaw', but as each member of the cast appear to be each working against one another, the solving of the puzzle becomes an almost impossible task to make sense of. This at times leaves you feeling that you are spinning in a whirl-wind of possibilities that feels more like work, than a 'time out', but the exquisitely shot final product is in the end more than ample reward.

Josh Hartnell, relative newcomer, his debut having been made in 1997 in the abysmal remake of televion series 'Cracker', plays a remarkable lead role in the shoes of Matthew. Interestingly enough director McGuigan seems here to lay little credence to complex character names, more content it would seem to leave this to the scripting. We first see Matthew discussing with his future father in-law, his business trip to Thailand to secure new opportunities for the firm and this relationship, it soon becomes apparent, is not going to be either a fruitful or a long-lived one. Whilst at this meeting, Matthew is soon found in an obsessional search for an ex-girlfriend, giving little thought for either his fiancee (the daughter of his boss) or the company he is supposed to be working for. The tale soon becomes a multi-faceted thriller, romance is there, but so is bitter entanglement.

As I have stated before, this whole arrangement is a difficult one to grasp and will leave you realising factors that were key to the story, long after you had left the theatre. With all of the ingredients put into this film, I found this a very rich and rewarding experience. It won't be a life changing one and you may even find yourself tearing your hair out before we settle the story, as factors we once felt 'key' are callously thrown away by the director as he starts you up a new path. With such a tight team of both director and cast this is a film that should definitely 'rate', even though at the root of the tale you may consider that you have been here before. A further testimony, if one were needed, was that I have never found myself writing more notes for a film, as I did here. 9/10


Nick James


Odeon Online

 

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