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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
Why are the people that don't have a thing to say about this film think that it is so slow? Also, for that matter, why are they comparing it to Short Cuts and Magnolia?
Lantana is a fine film thanks to the sure direction of Ray Lawrence and the fine script by Andrew Bovell. This was certainly a nice surprise coming from Australia, which has given us a great many interesting films and that keeps telling world wide audiences there sure is life after Hollywood and the formula styled fare that has been coming from the La-La Land in the last years.
To begin with, the cast is first rate. Anthony Lapaglia keeps getting better and better all the time. Aside from his work on stage, namely, The Rose Tatoo and A View from the Bridge, on Broadway, his appearances in films are always convincing. He's the kind of actor that doesn't repeat himself. He has such a presence and magnetism that we can't take our eyes from him throughout the duration of Lantana.
His character here is full of anger. He's at the point in his life where a mistake will make him lose his wife and children by straying to an area where he shouldn't have gone in the first place. His wife beautifully played by Kerry Armstrong is incredible. She has an integrity and dignity that many women should envy. She's sure of herself and her life with even a husband that might have and affair but who comes running back to her when he realizes what's at stake.
Barbara Hershey is another actress that always gives us a new dimension to her craft. She's never been better in her last appearances under the direction of Mr. Lawrence. Even Geoffrey Rush, an actor who could go off the top in many of his roles, plays the right note here.
The rest of the cast is excellent. Lantana is a great film. The best thing is to relax and enjoy this well crafted drama.
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