Wicker Park

Winning US remake of classic French film

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OPENS SEPTEMBER 10, CERT 12A, 114 MINS

You’ll anticipate heinous sacrilege, this being Hollywood’s cover version of Gilles Mimouni’s magical 1996 French romance-thriller L’Appartement, with dozy Josh Hartnett in the Vincent Cassel role. Yet with Brit Paul McGuigan (Gangster No 1) at the helm, they not only get away with it but almost match the original’s cerebral and emotional punch. It’s heavily over-stylised, but the complex affairs tug towards a satisfying, powerful climax.

In case you’ve forgotten the story (shame on you), Matthew (Hartnett) is on the verge of a career marriage when he glimpses the long-lost love of his life: Diane Kruger. He tries to track her down (the titular park’s their old meeting place), but becomes embroiled with her friend (Rose Byrne), a neurotic actress. Serving as buddy and chorus is Matthew Lillard, toning down his excesses and even conveying a broken heart with due pathos. Mimouni’s labyrinthine plot remains miraculous even if you know the twists, and the direction’s slick but smart. A crazy, impassioned conceit which shouldn’t work but does.

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