Lantana 2001

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(27) IMDb 7.4/10
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With complex relationships and believable characters, this intelligent well-acted film is more than another cop thriller. A Sydney police detective is having an affair while trying to solve a murder mystery. As it involves all the people in his life, he's forced to examine his future as a family man and cop.

Starring:
Rachael Blake,Barbara Hershey
Runtime:
1 hour, 55 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Crime, Romance
Director Ray Lawrence
Starring Rachael Blake, Barbara Hershey
Supporting actors Anthony La Paglia, Vince Colosimo, Geoffrey Rush
Studio Content Film
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Silly me. Watching this film I thought Lantana was some sort of exotic dance but apparently it's a thorny shrub and this film opens with a women's unidentified body lying in amongst this shrub. The shrub is also a metaphor for the entangled lives on display. As the plot unfolds we gradually learn her identity through the intertwining lives of several people, most of them couples undergoing various levels of relationship strife.
Adapted from a stage play "Speaking in Tongues" it occasionally reveals its source through a series of low key scenes that rely on talking heads but is no less engrossing for that. It's almost soap opera mixed with the labyrinthine narrative of "Pulp Fiction" or "Go".
These are ordinary lives and at times what is happening can seem a little banal but every scene leads us inexorably on to revealing the identity of the unfortunate murder victim and the performances are so good that you should be gripped anyway. Lapaglia as the hangdog cop Leon is superb. Rush gives an understated performance as the husband of Valerie, the ever excellent Barbara Hershey. However the real star is Kerry Armstrong as Valerie, Leons wife in who's face constantly and believably radiates all the frustrations, betrayals and tiny hurts everyday life can bring.
The movies somnolent pace can become a tad wearisome at times but it's worth paying close attention as that's where the real pleasure in watching this film is to be derived and it rewards that attention handsomely.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By andrew creed on 25 Nov. 2003
Format: DVD
Lantana failed to pull in the viewers at the box-office, struggling to find a identifiable target audience, and definitely not appealing to those in for an all out blockbuster on a Friday night. Following its 13 AFI nominations interest has peaked, being critically acclaimed, and in several reviews lauded as ‘film of the year’. Certainly, the movie proves that absorbingly written and captivatingly acted dramas can entertain on the big screen, especially when so many themes are intangled throughout.
Leon Zat (LaPaglia) is an adulterous detective, confused about his impending middle age, and troubled by his teenage son’s pot-smoking habits. His marriage is failing, and unbeknownst to Leon, his wife, Sonja, is seeing a psychiatrist, Valerie Somers, who has recently suffered a traumatic, emotionally crushing experience of her own. Add to this several other engrossing characters – a happily married couple with three children, their neighbour Jane, whom Leon had his affair with, and a female cop who does her best to control the ever erratic Leon, and the gripping plot unfolds as the characters lives intersect when one of them turns up missing.
Andrew Bovell’s script is based on the original stage play ‘Speaking in Tongues’ and the dialogue is one of the most important aspects here. The soundtrack is at times banal and the camerawork, although apt, is far from exceptional. Thus it is the script and acting which director Ray Lawrence has totally relied upon to pull this psychological mystery-thriller off. He is successful, but only just, as at times the film borders on being no more than a Wednesday night ITV drama.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. Carnegie HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 11 April 2003
Format: DVD
Australian Director Ray Lawrence's second movie and his first for 17 years is an articulate, intelligent and totally compelling examination of human relationships, as well as a thought provoking thriller. Award winning and critically acclaimed, this is the type of movie that Oscar should be honouring, instead of the commercial Hollywood formulaic mediocrity the Academy often seems to prefer.
Lantana opens with camera panning down through a tangle of shrubs to reveal the dead body of a woman, stockings ripped and one shoe missing. Immediately drawn to this image we are led to wonder who the dead woman is and to wonder how she died and who killed her but rather than this being merely a thriller it is also a highly intelligent and very rewarding examination of troubled marriage. The title 'Lantana' perhaps doesn't translate well to most countries outside of Australia. It is never explained during the movie, which is a bit of a shame, because Lantana (the name of the tropical shrub which surrounds the deceased) is used as a metaphor for the web of tangled relationships portrayed throughout this film.
At the centre of the plot is Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia), a burnt-out forty something Sydney police detective. Over-weight and troubled by chest pains, he is conducting an affair with a woman by the name of Jane O'May (Rachael Blake), who is separated from her husband. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Leon, his unhappy wife, Sonja (Kerry Armstrong) is seeing a therapist, Valerie (Barbara Hershey) about their troubled marriage. However, Valerie's own marriage is also in crisis: Following the death of her 11-year-old daughter her husband (Geoffrey Rush) no longer engages in sexual relations and appears to deliberately avoid spending time with her, whilst often "working late at the office".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
Wrapped around an investigation that appears to be a murder, this story explores the lives of 4 interlinked couples. THree of them are in a serious crisis - infidelity, splitting up, grief - and are pondering the meaning of it all while groping towards reconciliation or compromise or perhaps divorce. The tone is unrelentingly sad, making it an agony to watch, particularly if you have felt pain and alienation in a marriage that once worked.

While the investigation side serves as a kind of plot device, it has barely begun by the middle of the film. Instead, the viewer gets a picture of each marriage, vividly and concisely portrayed like a series of vignettes, and the acting is positively excellent. For example, Barbara Hershey exudes a disturbing, if functional, depression as she attempts to treat some pretty troubled patients - it is a wonderful portrayal of emotional ricochet, where their issues get her to reflect deeply on her own life. Hershey has never been better. Though brief, each view is utterly convincing, indeed rivetting in the way a poem can have an emotional impact in an entirely different way from a novel. It is very successful art.

I recommend this film as a valuable exploration of couples in mid life. Very good, realistic drama, including the investigation. But it is not fun to watch and I doubt I will want to again any time soon. Rather than uplifting, it is stark and naked.
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