The Lake House
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Alejandro Agresti
scr David Auburn
with Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Christopher Plummer, Dylan Walsh, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Lynn Collins, Willeke van Ammelrooy, India Neilan, Mike Bacarella, Scott Elias, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams
release US 16.Jun.06,
UK 23.Jun.06
06/US Warner 1h38

Somewhere in time: Bullock and Reeves

aghdashloo plummer walsh

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The Lake House This dreamlike remake of the Korean romance Il Mare reunites the stars of Speed for a film that's beautifully shot but about as unspeedy as humanly possible.

When Kate (Bullock) moves out of her architectural-wonder lake house (it's basically a glass box on stilts), next tenant Alex (Reeves) finds a letter from her introducing the house. The trick is that Kate actually lived there two years after Alex. They find a way to communicate via a time-warp mailbox, and fall in love through their correspondence. But can Alex wait two years to meet Kate or will fate intervene? What about Kate's boyfriend (Walsh)? And whose dog is it anyway?

In addition to the time shift, the house seems to have spatial issues as well--where's the attic in a house with glass walls and a flat roof? Never mind; trying to find logic in this film will drive us crazy. Auburn's script jumps around in time so much that you're never quite sure when you are; and with so much back-and-forth banter, the letter writing feels more like instant messaging. But Agresti's direction is lyrical and textured, giving the film a warm rhythm that just about makes up for its lack of pacing.

This filmmaking style generates extremely muted performances. Bullock injects some quietly offhanded moments into every scene, while Reeves rises above his usual woodenness. Side characters--friends and relatives--fill out the film nicely, although they don't have lives of their own, despite the solid actors. The way everyone's entwined at least keeps us interested as we try to unravel the plot strands.

The problem is that the film never generates any passion. Alex and Kate seem to drift through the story in a daze, as if they don't really care what happens. Even their few scenes together are extremely soft, slow and shamelessly sappy. Despite the fluid cinematography, editing and music, these short scenes prevent the film from flowing. While several nagging plot points make it impossible to suspend disbelief. Unless you get swept up in the romance of it all, perhaps.

cert PG themes, some language 9.Jun.06

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Lake House Donna R Carter, Wisconsin: "Lots of unfortunately unrealized potential. It was romantic, and the premise was interesting, but the way it was carried out made it logically impossible even in the imagination, and the mental gymnastics required to keep trying to make sense out of it rather put a damper on everything as a whole. The characters lacked substance (and it felt to me like Ebon Moss-Bachrach was miscast in his role; most scenes with him in them felt forced and unnatural). Regardless of the leaps in logic and plot twists that were obvious right from the start, it was still sweet. I'm not at all sure why it was rated PG instead of G." (19.Jun.06)
2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall