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This quirky romantic/comedy is an enjoyable ride.
by Erik Sean McGiven on Nov 11, 2009
It's an enjoyable ride, this quirky romantic/comedy that
journeys through a quandary of mishaps and escalating pretenses.
Reviewed at AFM, "Wake" is recent addition to
Moving Pictures' distribution catalog.
"Wake" stars Bijou Phillips ("Almost Famous") as
offbeat Carys Reitman, an emotionally isolated young woman who regularly
attends funerals of strangers. When she
meets a man who is mourning the lost of his fiancée, she connects with him and
his pain, only to discover that perhaps she's not the only one with a dark
In the opening scene she lies on the mortician's table
seemingly dead as Shane, played by Danny Masterson, applies makeup. The scene sets the tone of this movie, a
quirky romantic/comedy that travels through a quandary of mishaps and
escalating pretenses. It's an enjoyable
ride, even when contrived and manipulated.
At one fateful funeral, she unexpectedly meets Tyler (Ian
Somerhalder) and is pulled into his world by the love and admiration he has for
his now departed girlfriend. Later when
Carys reaches into the coffin and holds the hand of the dead girl, the girl's
engagement ring falls off in Carys's hand.
Tyler enters and Carys pretends to be a friend of the dead girl while
trying to hide the ring. Thus begins a
series of deceptions and a very precarious romance.
While the concept is engaging, the execution of the story
could have been better. In most good movies the story evolves through the
characters' wants and actions, this one appears grounded in getting the shot
rather than the performance. It seldom
comes off the screen as being alive and real.
One of the ingredients missing is the inner struggles of the characters
and how they react to the perils of death, new friendships, mistrust, and
falling in love. At times, situations
appear contrived for the sake of plotting.
Instead I wanted to see those organic moments of reflection,
anticipation, moments of decision and indecision. What we get is mainly surface acting and
little of what's churning underneath.
Bijou Phillips plays her role as the gorgeous, sweet, funny,
and quirky gal whose idea of a fun is hanging out with the bereaved. She's comfortable in black, but it also
shields her secret, the funeral she never had.
Danny Masterson plays Shane, the mortician, and close friend of
Carys. By helping her gain entrée to
funerals his job is in jeopardy. Ian
Somerhalder portrays Tyler, the mourner turned love interest, and does so with
well placed foreshadowing disguising his true motives. Jane Seymour plays Carys's estranged mother
and carries a burden of her own.
Marguerite Moreau is Carys's well traveled roommate searching for love
in all the wrong places.
Production credits are first rate and the editing and sound
are both professionally done. Music
intercuts popular songs with mainly electronic scoring. Film was shot in and around Los Angeles and
the production had its world premiere as the Opening Night film at the 2009
Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California.
CREDITS: Bull Market
Entertainment Presents A Hal Schwartz Production, An Ellie Kanner Film
"Wake" starring: Bijou Phillips, Ian Somerhalder, Jane Seymour, Danny
Masterson, and Marguerite Moreau.
Directed by Ellie Kanner; Written by Lennox Wiseley; Produced by Hal
Schwartz, Bill Shraga, & Lennox Wiseley; Director of Photography - Gavin
Kelly; Editor - Naveen Singh; Casting by Loran Johnson; Production Designer -
Travis Zariwny; Costume Designer - Laura Galli; Music Supervisor - Michael
Becker; Music by Brad Segal.
July 9, 2020