Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Lake House

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock – and not an out-of-control bus to be seen.

Over ten years has passed since Speed - surely one of the more enjoyable action flicks of the 90s despite Billy Idol’s theme song – cemented Keanu Reeves as every teenage girl’s pin-up dream, and launched Sandra Bullock into the Hollywood-sphere. Reeves made one of the two wisest decisions he’s ever made* in refusing to appear in the abominable sequel Speed 2; so The Lake House marks his onscreen reunion with Bullock. And what a pleasing little romance this is: pairing Reeves’ scruffy appeal and Bullock’s sweet vulnerability - with a time travel twist.

Bullock plays Kate, a lonely doctor, who moves out of the beautiful titular Lake House to be closer to her hospital job in Chicago. Her notes for the next tenant wind up in the hands of Alex Wyler (Reeves), an architect who’s moving into the Lake House – which his father had built – to do it up. Something’s amiss here, and we soon work out that Alex is living in 2004, and Kate in 2006. Using the Lake House’s letterbox – and a scene-stealing dog - as their conduits, the pair embark on one hell of a long-distance relationship.

Romantic comedies need a twist these days to stand out from the bunch – but even so, the quantum mechanics of this particular film would have Einstein himself reaching for the calculator.** The couple is supposed to communicate through the Lake House letterbox, but the filmmakers drop that as a imperative about halfway through the film, and the two narrate their notes and letters as if having a real-time conversation. It’s best, I think, to ignore the minutiae of the time travel and resulting plot holes – or should that be black holes?***

Both Reeves and Bullock perform well here – the roles suit them and it’s a pleasure to see a romance involving two 40-something contemporaries instead of the typical Hollywood pairing (she’s hot bodied; he’s virtually stone cold). The time travel exterior is an allegory for deeper issues to do with time - waiting and commitment. Kate is dedicated to her job at the expense of her personal happiness; Alex is uneasy about following his heart and setting up his own company; and Alex’s architect father Simon (Christopher Plummer) reflects on his lifelong deficiencies as a father. It contains some nice imagery – the city of Chicago is an elegant backdrop, the Lake House is stunning, and there’s some almost poetic use of colour (especially red).

The Lake House will please those members of the audience savvy enough to either make sense of the time differences, or wise enough to ignore them completely. If nothing else…it passes the time.

*The other was taking the lead role in The Matrix. The two sequels, however…
**Hey! My first physics joke!
***Hey! My second physics joke!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its been nearly a decade since the original matrix was released, and i still cannot help but view other actors in keanu's role. personally, i think he is talentless -unless one dimensional is a talent: but of course, the lead in the matrix was intended to be a "robotic-like" character, so maybe its the concept as much as the actor i didnt quite find 100% (forgetting for a minute that the part was written for johnny depp, and keanu only got the job after 5 other hollywood stars turned it down...)

but hey - ur review is not about the matrix. the lake house is currently on my download file (legal download, i hasten to add), so when its available, i can comment on that particular film (but for what its worth, pre-watching, i do like the idea behind the film). in a strange co-incedence, speed is actually on tv right now!! (hence why i'm on the internet instead...)