Director: Alejandro Agresti
Working from a script by the Pultizer Prize winning playwright of Proof, David Auburn, Argentine director Alejandro Agresti was charged with the task of not only helming the remake of the foreign fantastical romance Il Mare but also overseeing the first cinematic reunion of Speed stars Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. With references and allusions to Hitchcock’s Notorious and Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the film centers around the magical story of two people living in two different years (2006 and 2004) who manage to cross the time barriers by interacting via a mailbox on the lake house property in which they’ve both resided. Sandra Bullock plays Kate, a hardworking doctor in ’06 who, as the film begins, leaves a note to the new tenant of the property with a polite request to forward her mail. Architect Alex (Keanu Reeves) gets her welcome note as he moves in eighteen months earlier and thus begins one of the most creatively yet somehow emotionally icy romances to grace the screen last year. Although admittedly a bit of a disappointment, the film receives ample support from a clever screenplay, a wonderful soundtrack (see two selections below), and excellent international supporting players like Christopher Plummer, Willeke van Ammelrooy (Antonia’s Line) and Shohreh Aghdashloo (The House of Sand and Fog). While viewers definitely stay engaged to the film, we’re always held at a bit of a distance due to the gloomy cinematography and somewhat sleepy performances by its usually excellent two leads with otherwise superb natural chemistry. Expected to be a major smash, The Lake House was the first film simultaneously released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-Ray, although a bit of a warning for die-hard romantics—while the wholly earned happy ending will put a smile on your face, a film that begins with a death on Valentine’s Day makes it sort of an unsuccessful offering for “date night.” Note to fans of Speed: paying homage to Reeves’s character in their earlier film together, the onscreen dog in the film was named Jack by Sandra Bullock.