Lantana

"Good"

Lantana Review


Marital stress hangs like an albatross around the necks of all the primary characters in "Lantana," an viscous Australian ensemble piece that begins as an intricate, intimate web of rocky relationships and evolves into a tangled, disconcerting mystery.

Two floundering couples, connected through six-degrees-of-separation periphery, are at the center of the story. Anthony LaPaglia is Leon Zat, a police inspector who takes out his many frustrations on suspects and in bed with Jane (Rachael Blake), an almost-divorcee from the salsa dance class his wife drags him to every week. His marriage to brittle Sonja (Kerry Armstrong) has grown tepid and uncommunicative -- a fact that she regularly bemoans to her shrink, Valerie Sommers (Barbara Hershey).

Valerie is a woman who has had a hard time maintaining her professional detachment since her young daughter was murdered two years before. Her marriage to John (Geoffrey Rush), a prickly law school dean, has grown so numb since the loss of their child that they speak to each other -- even about sex -- like uneasy co-workers. And the fact that John deals with his sorrow in quietly tearful visits to the murder site while Valerie has chosen to grieve publicly, publishing a book about the killing, hasn't helped heal their rift.

Meanwhile, increasingly lonely and insecure Jane finds herself peering out from behind her living room curtains a lot, spying on her next door neighbors who seem to have the one thing missing from the movie's other relationships: Trust. Jane's subconsciously deliberate test of that trust derails her friendship with the struggling, blue-collar neighbors when she begins flirting with the husband.

Directed by Ray Lawrence (from his own stage play, "Speaking In Tongues") with a deft, perceptive eye and ear for the delicate verbal and emotional intercourse of frayed human relationships, "Lantana" bristles with unspoken tension, agitation and mistrust. Lawrence simply points the camera and fades away to let the film's fully immersed performances speak for themselves.

When the story takes a startling twist -- foreshadowed in the opening credits that play over a woman's inert body lying face down in a thicket -- further turmoil pulls all the characters closer together like abutting knots tied in a rope.

Leon leads an investigation that soon tests his ethics, while director Lawrence engages the all characters' psychological states to steer the movie's emotions and implications (criminal, extramarital and otherwise) toward conclusions that may not be as cut-and-dried as they seem.

Chunks of "Lantana" are driven by coincidental connections between characters, which are cleverly executed but start to feel like a crutch in the picture's last act. Lawrence becomes a little too enamoured of this contrivance and as the story draws toward the finale, you can't help but be distracted looking for all the plot idiosyncrasies to come full-circle.

But this is a minor problem that detracts only slightly from the film's unique exploration of the human condition under the duress of withered love.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 4th October 2001

Box Office USA: $4.3M

Distributed by: Lions Gate Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 93 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Detective Leon Zat, as Jane 'Janie' O'May, as Sonja Zat, as John Knox, as Dr. Valerie Somers, as Steve Valdez

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.