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THE LAKE HOUSE (PG) (2006)

Warner Bros.

Official Site

Director: Alejandro Agresti

Producers: Doug Davison, Roy Lee

Written by: David Auburn; from the movie Siworae written by Ji-na Yeo

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plummer, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dylan Walsh

Rating:


In 1994, Reeves and Bullock starred together in Speed, one of the biggest action hits of the decade. Twelve years later, they reunite for the first time in something, well… quite different.

The Lake House is mostly a little romantic drama mixed with some science fiction/fantasy elements. Kate (Bullock) is a melancholy doctor who is moving out of her quaint glass lake house. Alex (Reeves) is an architect who is just moving in. Alex gets Bullock’s welcome note. So what’s the catch in this high concept taken from the Korean film, Siworae? Well, the problem is that Kate moved out and left the letter in 2006, while Alex moves in and gets the letter in… 2004.

Confused yet? Well it’s not as confusing when you see the picture… I think. Just work with me here for a bit.

Alex, of course, is somewhat puzzled about this, so he writes Kate a note back. Kate, who likes to go back to the lake house to clear her head, finds the reply in the mail box and replies back to Alex. Through this strange temporal disturbance, they find a connection and fall in love. They continue as pen pals or long distance lovers, save for the fact that instead of being far apart via distance, one person is already two years in the future of the other. Or… I don’t know, thinking about time travel and paradoxes gives me a headache like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not a quantum physics major!

The main issue concerns a fairly big plot twist in the movie, not the aforementioned temporal/time travel concept. And the movie ridiculously reveals it after five minutes. It seems the filmmakers gave it away without actually knowing it. I can only assume that audiences are NOT supposed to know this outcome, yet later on it feels like the filmmakers are so blatantly calling attention to it. And when the twist does turn out to be exactly what you knew it was after watching five minutes of the film, the result is a deflated movie. It all leads to a pretty un-suspenseful, shriveled third act with an even more souring ending.

Reeves and Bullock do little to inspire me here, but they do have some moments. I didn’t feel the seemingly profound connection they had with each other through the letters. The editing of these literary exchanges is externalized through voice-over or actually mixing Kate and Alex in the frame together in their separate years. The written exchanges played off more as if they were speaking on the phone or instant messaging each other, not speaking to each other through letters.

I found Reeves’ relationship with his estranged father (Plummer), a stuffy and miserly architect (who actually built the titular lake house), a more compelling relationship, albeit cinematically derivative.

Aghdashloo plays Anna, Kate’s colleague and supervisor, who also moonlights as the movie’s sparse comic relief. I find Aghdashloo’s dark profile and husky voice very charming and endearing, but the pithy comments fall flat in this writer’s humble opinion.

Watching this movie affirms how glad I am that Constantine most likely won’t continue as a cinematic franchise. Reeves playing The Hellblazer once was way more than enough. (Editor's note: The Vile One is totally, completely, irretrievably and vilely wrong. Keanu rules. Not that, you know, I will actually see this movie. I’m just saying…)

“Whoa.”

—Keanu Reeves

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



Pink Floyd

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