THE LAKE HOUSE
*** (out of 5)
June 16, 2006
Keanu Reeves as ALEX WYLER
Sandra Bullock as KATE FORSTER
Christopher Plummer as SIMON WYLER
Ebon Moss-Bachrach as HENRY WYLER
Willeke van Ammelrooy as KATE’S MOTHER
Dylan Walsh as MORGAN
Shohreh Aghdashloo as ANNA
Lynn Collins as MONA
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Alejandro Agresti
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The last time we saw Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock together, they were driving a hijacked bus through the streets of L.A. at 80 miles per hour. It was a monumental film for both actors, solidifying them as A-listers in the industry.
Like Richard Gere and Julia Roberts did in “The Runaway Bride,” Reeves and Bullock are reuniting for a new film. However, instead of going after the action fans or the romantic comedy crowd, they are trying their hand at a more serious romance, “The Lake House.”
Based on an Asian film, this movie isn’t about creepy girls at the bottom of wells or terrifying little boy ghosts. Instead, it’s a story of a special magic that manifests in the relatively humdrum life of a Chicago doctor and a Chicago architect.
Kate (Sandra Bullock) has just moved out of a glass house on the lake. She leaves a note for the new tenant, which is picked up by Alex (Keanu Reeves). Something strange has happened because Alex exists two years before Kate’s time. Through this mystic mailbox, the two send letters to each other over the course of a year. As pen pals from another time, Kate and Alex fall in love, and they hope to meet someday.
I took my wife to see this film, and she loved it. The movie is a textbook definition of a chick flick. Trust me, the movie ain’t “Speed.” In fact, at times, it can move pretty slow. Much of this I blame on a former cinematographer-turned-director who spends a lot of time lighting sets and enjoying the beauty of the moment.
However, it’s the chemistry between Reeves and Bullock that save this movie. Even though their storylines take place years apart, and they are rarely seen in the same frame (which only happens in split screen), they do work well off each other.
It’s when the two are apart that the film bogs down. I’m not sure what sort of pull director Alejandro Agresti has over the execs at Warner Bros., but somehow he got away with several irrelevant discussions among some characters about the concepts of architecture.
“The Lake House” follows the pattern of a dime-store paperback romance novel. There’s a fantastic element, but it is accepted pretty easily, with no explanation for why it happens. This is a standard in the romance industry, which employs time travel, for example, but never tries to touch on the science behind it. In the end, these fantastic events are more spiritual than anything else.
There are some parts of the film that don’t fit the real world, if you think about it too much. For example, why does Kate have such trouble remembering her encounters with Alex? Why do time paradoxes not happen throughout the film? And why doesn’t Kate just Google Alex in the present to find out what happened to him.
Ultimately, “The Lake House” is the kind of movie for us guys to bite the bullet on. Our wives and girlfriends are going to love it, and we might as well take them to it. After all, it’ll win us some brownie points, and it might just get us some action after the movie is over.