Lantana

Lantana

Directed by Ray Lawrence

Starring Anthony LaPaglia, Barbara Hershey, Geoffrey Rush

Somewhere within the bloated carcass of this film lays a decent little cop drama. Detective Leon Zat (Aanthony LaPaglia) cheats on his wife Sonjia (Kerry Armstrong). She’s seeing a shrink, Valerie (Barbara Hershey), whose daughter was murdered recently, which caused her to write a best-selling book. She thinks her gay client is cheating with her husband John (Geoffrey Rush), and when she bumps into some guy on the street, she goes a little nutty herself. This flusters the guy so much he goes into a bar and meets Zat, but later he goes back to his wife Jane (Rachael Blake) who separated from him and is sleeping with Zat. HER next-door neighbor Nik (Vince Colosimo) picks up the psychiatrist when her car breaks down. She doesn’t know him at all, and when he takes a short cut she thinks the worst, jumps out of the car, falls in a ravine, and Nik is picked up and accused of murder. All this good stuff happens in the last half-hour of this porker — so what happens in the first hour and a half? Mostly, we have unattractive people cheating, being cheated on, or contemplating cheating. After an hour of this, you ask, “Who are these people?” “What so they have to do with one another?” and “I thought this was a police thriller — all the cop does is drink and lie to his wife!”

So what should you do? Easy. Go to your local 20-plex, buy a ticket for something else that ends about half way thought Lantana, and sneak in for the end. The casting is great, the acting and lighting is fine, and it’s shot around the scruffier parts of Sydney, Australia that you never saw on the last Olympic games. Lantana is a classic case of bad editing — all the right film is available and shown, but a lot more of this film stock should have made the cutting room floor.

Lantana: http://www.palace.net.au/lantana

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