Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wake: Movie Review

Criss-crosses genres but shines with originality.

Wake is a weird type of movie, completely unique and original, and because it's so off-kilter, you're left thinking about it after it ends. It is marketed as a quirky romantic comedy, but it should be made clear that it isn’t, even if it parades around that direction occasionally. Bijou Phillips stars as Carys Reitman, an emotionally-stunted pretty girl who is searching for a life connection. Not a guy, but emotion , to be able to feel the same way inside as others do. 2009

Directed by: Ellie Kanner

Screenplay by: Lennox Wisely

Starring: Bijou Phillips, Ian Somerhalder

Let’s start with the interesting beginning and Carys’ personality differences. Shane (Danny Masterson) is working in a morgue, Carys is playing dead in the morgue and Shane applies make-up to her as if she were a corpse. It is odd to begin with a weird drama and then morph into a romantic comedy, and yet that’s exactly what happens. When at a funeral – because Carys goes to random funerals – she meets Tyler (Ian Somerhalder), a grieving widower.

You expect the movie to continue as a romantic comedy, with comedic lines from her roommate and friends, and the usual awkwardness when the girl keeps lies from the guy. Instead, "Wake" took a fairly dark turn, and meandered through various genres not usually associated with romantic comedy. Viewers should be pleasantly surprised that it doesn’t take the predictable route, but it can be quite off-putting with how weird and jarring the film is.

As it criss-crosses from genre to genre, the film is ultimately a character drama about Carys. Phillips very exquisitely handles the interesting Carys. She’s a woman who has experienced the death of a loved one, and is simply grieving, but she knows she’s not grieving normally and is on the look-out for that normalcy and stability and emotional connection that almost everybody else in the world seems to enjoy. As a character drama, Wake is good. Carys is a unique and original character, she has her flaws and she is captivating. Carys' journey to understand herself and human nature is beautiful.

Phillips and Somerhalder don’t share the chemistry expected with a romantic comedy, but that is just one of the issues when the film is toying with multiple genres. The tonal issues are mostly overcome by the unexpected turns in the story and evolution of Carys. Becareful of labelling this as a romantic comedy, and be on the look out for odd developments, but Wake is an enjoyable film that offers something different.