Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Lake House

Today, let's take a break from the negativity of last week and refresh ourselves with a movie I mostly liked. This is not a surprise, since it's a remake of a different movie I mostly liked, except with Keanu Reeves. It's The Lake House, believe it or not.

The Lake House started life in the far off land of Korea, as an extremely gimmicky romance called Il Mare. It comes to America as an extremely gimmicky romance starring everyone's favorite perpetually confused actor Keanu Reeves and the generally charming Sandra Bullock. Reeves is an architect living in a house, on a lake. Sandra Bullock is a doctor from the future who lived in the same house. With the help of a magical dog and a deus ex mailbox, they send each other letters and fall in love.

What I liked about the Korean original was the unique, almost dreamlike atmosphere that was created. A combination of the music, the swirly camerawork, and the voice over created a lovely, comforting dream of a universe you couldn't help but feel comfortable in.

So, as I mostly liked this version, at its best moments it does what the Korean original did best. While it's cool to mock Reeves and his one facial expression, he's got some undeniable chemistry with Bullock, who remains one of the most likable leading ladies there is, no matter how many movies use that as an unfortunate crutch. When they're sharing a scene or a moment, the movie becomes a nice place to be.

Unfortunately, there are scenes where Bullock and Reeves are not in the same scenes, and these are usually the weakest. I might only be remembering the best parts, but I don't recall some awkward family drama in the original, or the "being a doctor's hard!" scenes Bullock is cursed with. There's an unfortunate intersection with the real world that seems to be inserted to be more acceptable to American audiences, who might be less receptive to Korean gimmick movies.

The sensible can say that this movie isn't that great. The plot holes are large enough to drive a truck through, and there are times when the emotion is a bit too forced. But it's not a logic piece, it's a mood piece, and the mood created is wonderful, full of ambiance, light and emotion. Don't think too hard, and let yourself get lost in the picture.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah Keanu and Sandra have been matched, what 3 times now in movies? I'm definitely with you on the chemistry, it might actually be Sandra's irrepressible down-to-earth charm that kind of fills in the blanks in Keanu's performance, sort of a duality thing, I don't know. If that's the case, it's going to work because, say what you will about the guy, he does that one thing that he does really well, just don't give him any parts that will cause him to go outside of his comfort zone.

    In general, I like to think that Keanu's incurably dead-pan acting is like the equal and opposite reaction to John Malkovich and his eternal over-acting. The two should really star in a buddy film together.