This Australian drama is slow paced but never boring. It looks at the interconnected lives of a group of people living in suburbia, surrounded by mystery. Lantana deals with numerous relationships and the trust, mistrust, honesty, lies, frustrations, and love that involve them. Featuring solid performances this film reveals itself in layers, and it is not until the end that the final layer is uncovered. A classic Australian film.
Anyways, this Aussie film is a treat. The plot might sound very complicated, but it's presented super smoothly. A cop is cheating on his wife, as she is seeing a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist has some issues with her man after they experienced a child death. There's also a young and pretty paranoid couple with some neighbors being anoyed about their behavior and manners. All these people are connected in some ways. They dance togheter, they met ranomly at bars, they work togheter or they even sleep together. This is a perfect mess and it grinds into you as you try to open up the characters and they're ways. When someone dies the story really opens up - now where about halfway through the film.
Not as complex as you probably would think it is, not stupid or easy to figure - just perfectly mysterious and darn well acted. Entertaining, exciting, smart, well executed and easy to take in and digest. An overlooked gem and a masterclass of character building.
8.5 out of 10 dance lessons.
Loosely following a similar film style to the one that Paul Thomas Anderson established in his iconic film Magnolia, Lantana becomes a film about a lot of different characters dealing with their own personal demons as they push on through life. As things begin to heat up and they clash, the focus begins to shift. Lantana focuses both on its large array of characters and the connections they have to the central plot and doesn't always have the most consistent balance. This is because there are so many characters to take in. They mostly seem interesting, but the problem is that they are all played off as subplots. Each story in Lantana has the strength to be a story of its own, and the fact that they are each reduced to simple subplot and then crammed into the same film and then tied together with minor plot elements. Instead, I felt lke the storylines for each character ended up being little more than a distraction for what the central story tying them into the same situation was saying. Sometimes, it was the other way around. Either way the focus was something I had trouble grasping. I found that Lantana ended up being a good film, but it was inconsistent. The film is heavy in atmosphere and the actors are great, but I just couldn't feel the story a lot of the time. The focus was really all over the place and the narrative structure proved to be hit and miss, but in the end it was a good film.
Lantana is an effective film, thanks mainly to Ray Lawrence and the cast. Although the screenplay in Lantana is a bit packed, it is really full of strong dialogue and characters who are brought to life. Ray Lawrence plays a huge role in that because of the way that he makes Lantana a film that is heavy in atmosphere. He makes the film tense by using stylish cinematography and scenery which maintains a grim colour palette to emphasise the grim nature of the urban trouble going on. The mood of the film is really easy to get a sense of because it is rich, and it is strong enough to remain legitimate without pushing the plot into melodramatic territory.
Lantana kept me engaged mainly because of what the cast members did with their characters. Most of the roles are typical suburban characters who are illuminated by the immense skill of the cast members, while others are particularly edgy creations who are turned into viable assets to the film's success. All the characters are taken advantage of excellently well, and so it is really the cast of the film that brought life to Lantana.
Anthony LaPaglia is the most memorable cast member in Lantana. His grip on the role is excellent as it is such an internally complex one as he has serious issues with his emotions. He holds the emotional instablity of Leon Zat with absolute tenacity and a strong sense of authenticity. He goes through a lot of situations in the film and never lets them descend beyond the critical nature of the subject matter in the story. Anthony LaPaglia takes it all head-on and makes a powerful lead. His physical involvement in the material is relentless and so he is able to channel his emotional passion for the part through that. Anthony LaPaglia is the ideal actor to lead Lantana because he is the most important character and keeps audiences entertained with his dramatic antics every minute that he is on screen. His effort is awesome because he is so raw without dropping a certain sense of sophistication which can only come from years of experience as an actor.
It is excellent to see Geoffrey Rush on board in Lantana. As an Academy Award winner, Geoffrey Rush remains one of Australia's most critically acclaimed actors, so he is always a welcome presence in an Australian film. Considering that Lantana maintains such a large cast, the fact that Geoffrey Rush is among it proves to be excellent. And his performance, similarly, is excellent. Geoffrey Rush takes on a very down to earth role in Lantana, the part of an everyman. And for such a dedicated character actor to take on such a simple role is always a welcome role, particularly because of the fact that he simple blitzes the role. His involvement in the part, right down from his physical stature to his line delivery, is powerful. Geoffrey Rush engages with the surrounding cast members in Lantana with excellent dedication. He deals with the material with easy acting charisma, and it is seriously great to see him working with so many other actors because the way that he interacts with each and every cast member creates powerful moments in the film that boasts talent in both him and whoever he shares the screen with.
Vince Colosimo's performance remains one of the most intriguing in the film. In his supporting role, Vince Colosimo takes on the role of a simple everyman being dragged into a complicated situation and does justice to it incredibly well. His screen time is small, but as the film goes on and his relevance increases we see some powerful acting occur in him. As the situation cracks down on him and he is forced to confess a secret he has hidden for his own fears, Vince Colosimo breaks down and reaches a level of humanity beyond the casual spirit he achieved in the rest of the film. You can see absolute humanity in the part as if everything in the film suddenly became real for him. The moment where he breaks down in tears and confesses to the world what he has hidden is one of the most powerful things he has ever done as an actor, and it is a very brief but memorable moment which is very deserving of recognition that he earned in the shape of an AFI award. Vince Colosimo is excellent in Lantana.
Kerry Armstrong and Rachael Blake also deliver strong supporting performances, and Glenn Robbins is good to see in a pre-Kath and Kim serious role.
So altough Lantana is packed full of stories which go back and forth between relevance to a central plot and little more than subplots, the directorial approach of Ray Lawrence and incredible work of the cast make it a strong Australian film full of unforgettable performances.
This was a waste of a good 35 minutes until I finally said enough. If you are a man without gay tendencies this movie is not for you, even my wife watch the first 30 minutes and went to bed bored to tears. I'm sorry, it even bored the dog, not mind but the one next door.
Plus I have noticed most foreign movies get higher % points than movies made in the US, I don't get that but they do, as do gay movies.
Brilliantly written, wonderfully acted, I enjoyed the interweaving stories, and the characters who inhabited this film. Great film.