Trust. A dead body in bracken. A cop cheats on his unhappy wife who, in secret, sees a psychiatrist whose own marriage is corroded by grief: she thinks her husband is having an affair with a gay patient of hers. The cop's lover, Jane, is recently separated, and her neighbors - a couple with children - include a muscular unemployed man. Late one night, the doctor skids off a back road, finds a call box, and tries in vain to reach her husband. She sees headlights and flags down the driver. Later that night, Jane sees her neighbor park his truck and throw something into the lantana in a vacant lot. It's a woman's shoe. Unraveling the mystery lays bare five couples. Written by
The first film to win all of the top six categories of the Australian Film Institute (AFI) awards: best picture, best director, best actress, best actor, best supporting actress, best supporting actor. It also won for best adapted screenplay. This record remained unbroken until all 13 AFI categories were swept by Somersault (2004). See more »
When Sonja and Leon are in bed, the crew is reflected in a large standing mirror. See more »
[the morning after Leon admitted having an affair]
I fucked up, all right? People fuck up.
Really? Well, I don't. You know what's so easy, Leon? It's so easy to go out and find somebody. You know what's hard? What's hard is not to.
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Grateful acknowledgement of assistance to all our families See more »
If Miramax had been distributing "Lantana," you'd have heard as much about this movie as "In the Bedroom."
Anthony LaPaglia matches Tom Wilkinson for a low-burning but implosive performance. New to U.S. audiences, Kerry Armstrong is captivating.
While it's absolutely fascinating to see how screenwriter Andrew Bovell opened up his play "Speaking in Tongues," though both stand on their own, particularly for their frank look at the issue of the frailty of trust and betrayal, between husbands and wives, lovers, families and friends.
The movie makes much better thematic use of a cinematic technique of visual coincidences that other films have used as a gimmick. Here the coincidences provide crucial, ever more difficult tests, leading to either sins of omission or sins of commission as those without trust jump to conclusions or hold on to their love and faith in their partner.
The music is by Paul Kelly and is superbly atmospheric, creating a noir atmosphere and building up the tension with a continuing theme that alternates with sexy salsa music. In particular, a leit motif plays ominously whenever the titular, tropical plant fills the screen.
The crowded audience interpreted ironic comments as high comedy, which was annoying, but perhaps helped to break the tension. There was a lot of audience talking as the story was half-told visually --a particularly neat change from the original play--and the coincidences would be revealed to the audience.
This is a sophisticated film for grown-ups that absolutely respects the intelligence of its viewers.
(originally written 1/21/2002)
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