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No speeding bus
by Asa Butcher
2007-11-24 10:32:57
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The Lake House
Directed by Alejandro Agresti
Warner Bros. Pictures, 2006
First off, The Lake House is a not a horror, even though the title certainly convinced me that it would involve mysterious drownings and unfortunate watery murders. The film is actually a romantic drama reuniting Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock for the first time since Speed, an incredible twelve years ago. A great deal has happened to us all since 1994, including some acting lessons for Officer Jack Traven and Annie Porter.

There’s no bomb on a bus here, although a bus does play an important role in the film, and there are no retired bomb squad explosives experts blackmailing and terrorising the city. What remains is a beautiful remake of a 2000 Korean film entitled Siworae, a repeat of the delightful chemistry between Bullock and Reeves, albeit they are both older and mature, and a slightly strange twist on the time travel genre.

Architect Alex Wyler (Reeves) buys an old lake house designed and built by his father, but upon moving in he finds a note in his mailbox from the former tenant Dr. Kate Forster (Bullock), asking for any letters to be redirected to her new address. However, it doesn’t take long before they realise that she is living in 2006 and Alex in 2004, with the lake house’s mailbox inexplicably transporting their letters back and forth through time.

Once you have suspended your disbelief far out of reach, perhaps in the same way you don’t question why Bill Murray was reliving the same day in Groundhog Day, The Lake House develops into a romantic, occasionally tragic, story that leaves you wondering just how events will turn out. Yes, there are some incredibly large plot holes and time paradoxes, plus the ending makes the entire movie implausible, but it is still a gentle and interesting way to pass 105-minutes.

One aspect of the film that I enjoyed was the fact that the time travelling was not about changes in technology, politics or society, but focused on the loneliness, isolation and patience of the two characters, with numerous references to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which also tells of the same ideas. Over the course of the letters Alex and Kate begin to fall in love, and Alex even meets the 2004 Kate who has no idea of whom he is; scenes that are some of the more touching of the whole movie.

One such scene is when Alex and Kate meet at a party in 2004 and are sharing a dance to a 2005 Paul McCartney song – disbelief still suspended – They are incredibly comfortable with one another and make a highly-believable on-screen pairing, plus it was a relief to see Sandra Bullock in a calm performance bereft of psychosis and irritating personalities. In addition, Keanu is slowly shedding his “Neo” persona and has almost left The Matrix behind him.

The Lake House
is a touching film that will tug hard at the emotions, especially the ending, and will leave you hoping for a third Reeves/Bullock collaboration in the future – I just hope we won’t have to wait another 12 years before that happens.

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