Image courtesy of www.impawards.com
Keanu Reeves ……….Alex Wyler
Sandra Bullock……….Kate Forster
No matter what Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock have done in the last decade on the silver screen they are going to be linked for one magic moment in film: Speed. The sort of stellar chemistry they had on screen in one of the best action films of all time is something neither has been able to duplicate with a variety of cinematic partners. In an age of sequels and remakes one would imagine the two would be paired up again for Speed 3: Parallel Parking in an attempt to duplicate the “lightning in a bottle” from the 1994 smash hit as opposed to a romantic drama. But shockingly enough the two are front and center in The Lake House, a romantic drama with a bit of a twist.
Reeves stars as Alex, an architect who has just bought a house on a picturesque lake. Kate (Bullock) used to live there, having left a letter for its next tenant. Alex’s response leaves both confused and intrigued, as two years separation gives them plenty of time to talk to another. Connected by a mailbox with magic properties to cross time, they embark upon a most unorthodox romance disconnected from one another. It’s a film with a bit of a unique premise, a terrific love story with rock solid chemistry and with enough space/time paradoxes to mystify even the most devout physicist.
A remake of the Japanese film Siworae, the film’s main feature is the combination of Reeves and Bullock. The duo has great chemistry with each other as the chemistry they displayed in Speed isn’t a fluke. In an era where romantic dramas are littered with couples who don’t have the sort of chemistry these two show on screen. It’s interesting to note that neither is on screen with each other for the bulk of the film; most of the time it’s the two acting with split screens and with voiceovers as opposed to with one another. It’s an interesting view of the situation and the two are surprisingly more than capable of carrying their halves of the work.
And it’s interesting to see Reeves act when he’s given the sort of material that fits his acting style. Having someone he’s previously worked with doesn’t hurt, as Bullock is on top of her game, but unlike a lot of the film roles he chooses this is one which he’s ideally suited for. Once every four or five years Reeves takes a movie role that he’s perfect for and Alex is it. Much like Neo in The Matrix and Jack in Speed, this is a role which he can do well and doesn’t require him to go outside of his acting range.
The film’s story is a unique one, of course, but doesn’t go outside of the usual bonds of a romantic drama. The characters do the usual “meet, greet and eventually fall in love” that’s common to any romantic film but the catch is that the film’s time discrepancies make the interactions much different. Kate is in both time periods, as 2006 Kate is writing to Alex and 2004 Kate is finishing up a residency, and both of them are different characters. Events from both times have new meanings as Alex lives and interacts with parts of Kate’s past and Kate sees what’s lying in wait in the future for Alex. The characters are also well written, as neither Alex nor Kate are clichÃƒÂ©d or weak characters. Both are flawed people looking for someone to love; it’s easy to emphasize with both of them and their predicament is easily understandable.
The only thing about the film that keeps it from being a great one is the time paradoxes involved in the film’s finale. While certain things, like the internet, would make things a bit easier for both Alex and Kate the film’s finale revolves around a paradox of time and fate that is almost head-scratching. While the film’s premise is fairy tale in nature, so certain things like a mailbox that can cross through time are acceptable, the film’s ending is a bit disturbing when one thinks about the film as a whole and the events that launch Alex and Kate on their paths to one another.
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