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Lantana (2001) Online

Lantana (2001) Online
Original Title :
Genre :
Movie / Drama / Mystery / Romance
Year :
Directror :
Ray Lawrence
Cast :
Anthony LaPaglia,Geoffrey Rush,Rachael Blake
Writer :
Andrew Bovell,Andrew Bovell
Type :
Time :
2h 1min
Rating :

The relationships of four couples unravel after the discovery of a young woman's body in Lantana bush in suburban Sydney.

Lantana (2001) Online

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.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony LaPaglia Anthony LaPaglia - Leon
Rachael Blake Rachael Blake - Jane
Kerry Armstrong Kerry Armstrong - Sonja
Manu Bennett Manu Bennett - Steve (as Jon Bennett)
Melissa Martinez Melissa Martinez - Lisa
Owen McKenna Owen McKenna - Old Man in Pyjamas
Nicholas Cooper Nicholas Cooper - Sam
Marc Dwyer Marc Dwyer - Dylan
Puven Pather Puven Pather - Drug Dealer
Lionel Tozer Lionel Tozer - Police Officer
Glenn Suter Glenn Suter - Police Officer
Leah Purcell Leah Purcell - Claudia
Barbara Hershey Barbara Hershey - Valerie
Natasha Guthrie Natasha Guthrie - Young Girl
James Cullington James Cullington - Man at Book Launch

Anthony LaPaglia had to work with a dialect coach to regain his native Australian accent. He had lost it from years of working on American movies.

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 16 лет. Любовь. Перезагрузка. (2004).

Glenn Robbins was originally considered for the lead role of Detective Leon Zat, but Anthony LaPaglia was eventually cast. Robbins was then cast as the role of Pete O'May

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

Lantana is based on Bovell's own stage play called "Speaking in Tongues".

User reviews



LANTANA (2001) **** (out of four)

"Lantana" does not embody a story like most movies; it isn't about anything in particular. It's a movie about characters. Not larger-than-life super heroes, but characters who succumb to temptation, cheat on their wives, doubt their spouses, make mistakes and suffer consequences. In other words, "Lantana" is about real people. Normal, imperfect people like all of us. Not that everyone behaves like the characters here, but few films capture transgression with such compassion and sympathy.

Set in Australia, a colorful pallet of characters paints a vivid, coherent psychological portrait of infidelity, deceit, and estrangement. At the center of the film is four couples, immersed in guilt and depravity for different reasons. Everybody has something to hide. The conflicts of these people illuminate the personal crisis of a police detective (Anthony LaPaglia) as he investigates the disappearance of a local woman.

Apart from the investigation, the couples have little connection with each other. They do have one thing in common, however, that none of them communicates with their loved ones. "Lantana" proves communication enforces commitment, but a lack thereof results in disaster. This sincere, uncompromising picture places the lack of communication at the center of family problems.

The film won various Australian Film Awards for its performances, screenplay, and direction by Ray Lawrence. Lawrence clearly intended the title-referring to a tropical shrub with beautiful flowers that hide dense, thorny undergrowth-to represent the characters' private lives hidden behind an outward appearance. He's got the wrong metaphor. These characters do not appear sunny on the inside, outside, front or back. They don't wear masks or attempt to cover their frowning states of mind. They are unhappy people, and the movie never pretends otherwise.

Those qualities make the characters absorbing. Instead of providing them with outlets and opportunities to hide their faults, the film pokes, prods, and starves them of their happiness until they reach a breaking point. For some, the breaking point results in an explosion of anger. For others, it's subtle and personal. "Lantana" investigates real people who deal with real situations and encounter real consequences.

None of the characters are model citizens, yet we care deeply about each of them. When someone cries, we feel sorry for them. When someone begs for forgiveness, we try to forgive them. When someone questions their spouse, we are concerned with both sides of the marriage. These people make big mistakes; the results of their mistakes are never certain. The movie does not neatly pull things together at the end. It doesn't allow the characters an easy way out. These characters must dig themselves out of their problems.

"Lantana" is one of the most compelling, involving films of the year. It's based on a play called "Speaking in Tongues" by Andrew Bovell, who also wrote the fluid screenplay. I want to see this play. If these characters feel so alive, so real, so tormented on screen, think of their power in person.


In this starkly realistic examination of love and infidelity among the thirtysomething crowd from down under we learn that you may desire to cheat on your spouse, but it's better if you don't.

Leon Zat, a police detective played with an original and striking demeanor by Anthony LaPaglia, cheats on his wife and finds that his adultery compromises not only his marriage but his performance on the job. He becomes irritable and flies off the handle at things of little importance, and becomes consumed with guilt.

He is not alone. The marriage of John Knox (Geoffrey Rush) and psychiatrist Valerie Somers (Barbara Hershey) is falling apart as Knox seeks something from the outside and Somers is torn apart with the suspicion that he is having a homosexual affair, perhaps with one of her clients. Meanwhile Jane O'May (Zat's adulteress played by Rachael Blake) finds that she needs a man, or maybe two, other than her estranged husband. Even Sonja Zat (Kerry Armstrong) feels the pressure and yearns to feel attractive, perhaps with younger men.

More than halfway through we have an apparent murder and an investigation during the course of which some of the adulteries come to light and cause the participants to examine themselves and their lives closely.

Andrew Dovell wrote the subtle, richly attired script, full of penetrating dialogue and an uncompromising veracity, adapting it from his play Speaking in Tongues. Ray Lawrence directed in an unusual but compelling manner in which the scenes are sharply focused and cut to linger in our minds. Again and again I was startled with just how exactly right was something a character said or did. Lawrence's exacting attention to detail gives the film a textured and deeply layered feel so that one has the sense of real life fully lived. The cast is uniformly excellent although LaPaglia stands out because of his most demanding role. His performance is one of the best I have seen in recent years. The only weakness in the film is a somewhat lethargic start, partially caused by Lawrence's cinéma vérité scene construction and editing. What he likes to do is lead us to a realization along with the characters and then punctuate the experience by lingering on the scene, or in other cases by cutting quickly away. Often what other directors might show, he leaves to our imagination, and at other times he shows something seemingly trivial which nonetheless stays in our mind. John Knox's affair, for example, is not shown. Jane O'May and her husband's reconciliation is left to our mind's eye. Yet the scene with Valerie Somers in the lighted telephone booth (with graffiti) is shown at length and then what happens next is not. These are interesting directorial choices.

The ending comes upon us, as it sometimes should, unexpectedly, but then resonates so that we can see and feel the resolution. Not everything is tied up. Again we are left in some cases to use our own imagination.

This original film, one of the best of the new millennium I have seen, stayed with me long after they ran the closing credits. It is well worth the two hours.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


This well-delivered ensemble piece is a film version of Andrew Bovell's play SPEAKING IN TONGUES. It deals with adult relationships, particularly the sexual tension and anxiety that eventually develops in mature relationships. The plot and interaction between characters depends heavily on coincidence, but this isn't a major flaw in a film that really concerns itself with adult behavior patterns. That aspect of the film is sophisticated and honest; well worth the viewer's time. Brooding, subtle and smart are the words for LANTANA and I highly recommend it.


What struck me the most about Lantana was not the well-laid plot, more the thoroughly realistic characters and performances. The classic 'mystery' thread was really only the setting for the several different relationships and couples featured in the film.

But having said that, the story itself was gutsy and twisting to keep you guessing till the end, all without the need for non-essential narrative or the need to keep spelling things out. The questions were all answered so far as the story was concerned, but because of the complexity and realism in all the principle characters, i still left the cinema rolling plenty of the emotional issues through my mind for hours after.

La Paglia was fantastic. His character, though shown as an adulterer from the very beginning, captured so many of the current male 'indentities' with great subtlety instead of a stereotyped 'hug session' which most recent films dealing with the subject matter inevitably lead to. He so easily showed the internal conflicts which most normal Australian men deal with day-to-day while still keeping up the brave face we all do.

I also enjoyed the quirky way the relatively small number of characters were all drawn together by fairly consequential links, and without a huge big statement of it in the end - no matter how many people there are on the planet, it still amazes me how small and incestual problem-circles end up becoming :)

This film has the potential to appeal to so many different audiences - works as a mystery, cop-drama, "chick flick", and to anyone who could ever relate to the 'feel' of Australia, which the film captures perfectly through great ambient audio and natural-looking lighting.

Well written, directed, photographed and cast give this one an easy full marks.


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.


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)


Most successful Australian films are quintessentially Australian. From Walkabout in 1970 via Peter Weir's pictures such as Picnic at Hanging Rock; The Last Wave and Gallipoli, right up to releases around Lantana such as The Tracker; Dirty Deeds; Rabbit-Proof Fence; Aussie Rules; The Dish and the Steve Irwin vehicle, The Crocodile Hunter Collision Course. Their appeal is partly based on an exploration of Australian culture or rather a contrast of cultures either within Australia or with the rest of the world. Like much of British Cinema, Australian Cinema has taken refuge in nationhood.

Lantana is different. Although it is set in present day Sydney it could, with the exception of the film's metaphorical title, be set in any Western urban conurbation. The film does not depend on either supposed Aussie character traits or well-known locations. Postcard Sydney is eschewed in favour of suburbia and mid-town. It is also bold as, although it contains a crime detection story, the film is primarily about an interwoven set of relationships gone wrong. The police investigation does not begin until halfway through the film, and this allows the relationships to be explored in detail before the more conventional narrative begins.

Leon (Anthony LaPaglia) is a morose police detective whose marriage to Sonja (the excellent Kerry Armstrong) is failing. His brief affair with Jane (Rachael Blake) in the opening sequence, is a symptom not a cause. Sonja confides her worries of the affair to Dr. Somers (Barbara Hershey), whose own relationship is soured by suspicion and tragedy. The only solid relationship is that of Jane's neighbours, whose domestic circumstances are the most difficult. This background unfolds in the first half of the film and the individual relationships are then laid over the plot allowing both an intertwining and explanation. The strength of the film is that as the characters have already been well realised, so their actions and emotions can be understood in the second half of the film. This is territory often reserved to a good novel, and is rarely brought off in the cinema and it is so well done here that a couple of narrative co-incidences can be forgiven.

The lantana is a large native Australian flowering plant, whose attractive and benign appearance conceals a thorny interior. The shrub is cleverly threaded into the plot and serves as a reminder that in relationships, things might not be all they seem and that care is needed to prevent hurt. In keeping with the film's realistic style there are no feel-good resolutions but the emotional intensity carries it to an ending of some hope rather than desolation.


Australian cinema has gone through many phases - more downs than ups. Out of nowhere emerged this absolute gem of a film. The popularity and critical acclaim encouraged the director to follow up with Jindabyne - another gem, but probably just didn't hit the heights of this one.

As with Jindabyne, this film is high metaphorical and to some degree, open to interpretation. But much like Woody Allen, there is a reluctance to dumb it down; instead allowing the audience to discover the so-called "underlying" themes and messages of the film upon reflection. Really good study for high school English students in my view.

Unfortunately, in the pursuit of not dumbing it down, many people don't get it or don't get it entirely. For this reason, I just thought i'd throw you a couple of insights (spoilers below):

DANCING - METAPHOR At the start, they are learning to dance. Now dancing symbolises unity of a man and woman in harmonious coordination (marriage). The fact that they are "learning" to dance at the start of the film indicates that they need guidance or further development. They are unable to dance together, indicating problems with marriages is a theme of this film. Perhaps love got it started, but isn't sustaining it. Shortly after, he starts his affair with another dancing class member.

LACK OF COMMUNICATION - THEME This was the major point of the film. Relationships do not survive where communication is lacking. When he returns home with blood on his shirt (following the accident during his morning jog) his wife attempts to help and comfort, but he doesn't say what happens and sternly brushes her off. She never tells him that she was going to allow their son to smoke pot at home.

Obviously the fact that he is having an affair plays a role in their problems, but as she revealed to the psychologist 'it's not that he's (having an affair), it's that he won't tell if he was.' Ironically, it would appear that honesty and open communication will forgive his infidelity, but non-disclosure is crossing the "relationship-ending" line.

Rush and his wife similarly have communication problems. His failure to answer the phone and simply listen to her pleas on the answering machine shows that communication between them is broken - as is the fact that he cannot look at her face while he makes love to her. Yet, her failure to completely confront Rush with here suspicions (that he's having a gay affair with one of her patients) is equally paralysing to their relationship.

Interestingly, the gay patient plays two extremely important roles. First, he indicates that his married lover tells him things about his marriage that he would never tell his wife. Again, communication breakdown. Second, when he speaks about the comments made by his lover about his lover's wife, the psychologist interprets them to be comments made by her husband about her, even though we later learn that she was mistaken. Though while she was mistaken in fact (ie.. Rush was not that patient's lover), it hardly matters as we come to realise that this is the sort of honesty that Rush does not provide to his wife. In fact, when she mentions that she's having difficulty with this patient in the restaurant, his solution is "refer him one." This probably reflects the dealing of problems in their marriage: if it's difficult of complicated, get rid of it, disregard it, palm it off to someone else, don't confront it or solve it yourself.... just "refer him on."

Then there is the issue of their daughter's tragic death. This has invariably distorted the marriage to the point where it is simply "held together by grief." But again - communication becomes an issue. She felt that she had to communicate her grief to the world (she wrote a book) while he was very much against it and didn't tell his wife that he frequently visited the site of their daughter's death. The communication mismatch is astounding and is why their relationship is in crisis mode.

Interestingly, all this is contrasted with couple who live next door to the cop's mistress. HE's unemployed, she works long shifts, they have several children and are financially battling. All the hallmarks are there for a strained marriage. But surprisingly, this is the strongest marriage in the film. They are a loving happy couple for one reason: they communicate openly. He told his wife that the neighbour invited him in for coffee after she left for work. Full disclosure keeps this marriage happy, no matter what external pressures are at play. In a way, the director is basically saying that while most people think that financial difficulties, work pressures, unemployment and so on bring down marriages, that isn't the case. Their communication keeps it alive and this is contrasted with the cop, who has a stable home-life, but their marriage is suffering due to their failure to communicate openly with each other.

THE POINT The film leaves us with conflicting feelings. Rush lost his wife, the cop's mistress has not repaired her marriage with her ex, but the cop's marriage appears to survive.

The fact that the cop confessed to his infidelity may have thrown his marriage off the rails temporarily, but it forced him to open up to his wife and for his wife to openly communicate with him... and at the end, it appears that they are dancing in perfect harmony - communication and disclosure of his affair actually saved their marriage.

However, Rush's stirring words are just as revealing: sometimes love isn't enough. This is very true when relationships encounter difficulties and obscure patches. Love will get it started and keep it going for a while, but communication breakdowns will eventually overcome the love that holds marriages together. This was what the director was trying to say in my view.


The movie surprised me not in that it was good, which it was but I was expecting that, but the dynamics of all the characters.

The intertwining plot was played out beautifully on screen and all the characters were portrayed brilliantly by all the actors. I didn't realize for the longest time that Anthony LaPahglia was NOT American and in fact an Aussie. Go him!

Love Geoffrey Rush anyway and he did a great job as the mysterious and suspected husband. The relationships portrayed in the film come across as so real and true that it's sometimes difficult to remember that none of the people are ACTUALLY married.

All in all, great film, great ensemble cast, great writing, directing, etc. View and be happy.
Zeks Horde

Zeks Horde

I'm not going to bother mentioning the acting, the camera, the music, the script, the editing or the direction beyond this. The acting is all intelligently filled with nuance and not a one steps, even briefly, outside the realm of believability. The camera is sophisticated without being showy. The music -- acoustic picking, rhythmic electric strumming, sparse piano -- underscores the film without ever making itself obvious or taking over. The screenplay (based on a play) consists of characters whose lives intersect in a way that's novel, yet not unbelievably so. The editing is smooth and unnoticeable and the direction is sharp and unobtrusive.

The film opens with the camera showing a dead body lying in an area of thickets. We're shown at the opening but won't need to worry about it for another hour. The first hour of the film is based solely on the relationships of its interconnecting characters.

We next see Leon (Anthony LaPaglia) having sex with a woman, who we later learn to be Jane (Rachael Blake). He's married, though, to Sonya (Kerry Armstrong) and she goes to a psychiatrist unbeknownst to Leon. It seems like Leon may be trying to cover up, or make seem less damaging to his marriage, his affair -- which he seems to get little joy from -- by making sure his two sons give him a kiss on the neck before going off to school. Leon is also a cop and early in the film he takes out his aggression -- which is a result of his pain -- on a drug dealer by being more rough with him than he should.

The psychiatrist Sonya goes to, Dr. Valerie Somers (Barbara Hershey) has another patient, Patrick (Peter Phelps). He's been seeing a married man and asks Valerie what he should do. Valerie, we see, grows uneasy, as if it hits close to home. As if she's dealt with this before. In a public speech she gives, Valerie (or should I say, the director) says that the home is a battleground for most, though it's not supposed to be. It is for her as well. She's lost her daughter to a murder and her relationship with her husband, John (Geoffrey Rush) is becoming increasingly empty. She suspects he may be having an affair as well.

When someone repeats something for us, "Making love to her was like trying to fill an empty well," we're fully aware that while one person in particular seems to take this to heart, this relates to each and every one of these characters. One reviewer on this site said that the characters in the film aren't full people. And I agree with him, only in a different way. They're fully fleshed-out characters, but they're only half full because they're perpetually bereft. Except for Paula (Daniella Farinacci) and Nik (Vince Colosimo), the couple that lives across the street from Jane. Later in the film when Paula says "He told me," the line has more meaning than it seems. This is the one relationship that is the exception to the film's rule.

The subtle hints we're given may or may not be important later on in the story, which after the half-way mark involves a police investigation; and the film manages to remain a drama about its characters throughout. The investigation exists in the background, as a device. It's strange that anyone would think the film is about the investigation by itself. If the film is about any one thing, it's about love and the quest to repair it after it's been damaged.

Valerie's own marital problems come to a head when she accosts a man on the street and accuses him of making a comment about her under his breath. The man turns out to be the ex-wife of Jane, who we meet again later during the investigation.

One night, Leon comes home to find his wife not there, goes to find her and discovers that she's gone to a dance club. The two have been taking dancing lessons, but Leon isn't very enthusiastic about them. Leon gets progressively more angry at himself, while Valerie is trying to make the best of a bad situation, even if the situation (at least on her side) gets inadvertently worse because of it. She's not out for revenge for what she suspects of her husband.

When Valerie drives down a back road and gets in an accident, she walks to a closed gas station and calls her husband, John and confronts him. When she doesn't come home, Leon and his partner Claudia (Leah Purcell), who's looking for love herself, are assigned to the missing persons case. There's wicked dramatic irony when John, after being questioned by Leon about his whereabouts and reacting with anger, asks him how he would react if his wife were to get in a car with a stranger, which is what the police have suspected Valerie did. In one scene between Leon and John (who is a suspect in his wife's disappearance) John admits that he didn't listen to his wife's very real cries for help.

By the end of the film, its stance towards marriage becomes, I think, increasingly pessimistic, as if any slight crack in a relationship would mean that both sides are doomed. But in the last segment, after the investigation is resolved, there's a glimmer of light for its characters. The final image suggests that the characters, and Leon in particular, have hope in working through their pain and transgressions and may someday be able to resume the dance.



I thought this movie was very good. It moved slowly at the beginning and you jumped to a lot of conclusions but as the story unfolded, I found myself trying to figure out which way the writers were going. The storyline was surprising. As for the acting, I can honestly say that all of the actors were superb, especially Anthony LaPaglia, who is an incredible actor and who did an amazing job with his character. You felt as if you were right there with him. kudos to the whole cast on this fine movie.


After reading rave reviews of this film I was very disappointed. The first hour is hard work as it serves up numerous disparate characters with no clear plot line. The characters do become embroiled in the second half, however, and the story is then more engrossing. The short sequences and the quick changes of scene and circumstance, particularly in the first half, along with the overall filming style all flatter the audience for its intelligence. Yet what is there in this film that is intelligent? It offers no philosophical nor any sociological insight that is not better provided in other films. The only thing approaching insight is the wife's complaint in the central relationship that, when her husband has an affair the true betrayal is that he doesn't tell her about it. Nothing here that you won't find in a prime time sitcom or a thousand hollywood romances. But is it true or representative? I doubt it. The film proudly displays ethnic diversity amongst its characters. But there is no ethnic diversity in their attitudes to marital behaviour and loyalty. This is complete garbage. More Hollywood via a "cultural cringe" from a non-Hollywood film. Southern European attitudes, for example, were done much better in the Godfather series. All this said, the performances are strong. They tell us to take the story and the ideas seriously. But at that level the film is vacuous. A great disappointment.


LANTANA is a boring film by any standards. This is a movie which presents itself with a self consciousness that is identifiable from the first frame. The unfolding characterizations are one dimensional - something which seems to bother none of the actors except Geoffrey Rush who seems to be wondering why he agreed to do this movie. Add to these elements, the fact that it's horribly shot (it seems as if the static set-up shots were done with a hand held camera)and that the music score is the kind of noodling fare that is usually associated with bad TV movies. Stand up for your intelligence and good taste - refuse to pay for this movie.


What an horrific dog's breakfast of a film this is.

It's trying so hard to be like Robert Altman.

It's trying so hard to be Magnolia.

In the end, it's just rubbish which means NOTHING!

This film is totally devoid of theme - nothing means anything and it sets itself up as being oh so deep and meaningful.

I have nothing good to say about this.

It starts out as a character study - with the most uninteresting characters to have ever graced a cinema screen.

It can't sustain it, so it turns into a murder mystery.

But who cares? And it's not even a murder anyway - it's an accident!

So it turns out that even the attempt at drama is actually ABOUT NOTHING!

Just like Andrew Bovell's last feature script - Head On - this film is all internal and there are no external problems for any of the characters, so there is not one bit of drama which can't be fixed by slapping them about and yelling "GET OVER IT!"

Just rubbish. Pretentious rubbish.

Now we know why Ray Lawrence hasn't made a film in 16 years!


"Lantana" is one of those rare films which which transcends entertainment with meaningful messages, however subliminal, while avoiding the dumbing-down, flocking, hype, titillation, and other excesses of the usual Tinseltown product and relying solely on good story telling. The film uses the nonlinear Magnoia-esque jigsaw puzzle approach showing a piece of each player one at a time while methodically completing the final puzzle picture. Though the film involves a cop, a shrink, a missing woman, infidelity, adultery, grief, suspicion, etc., "Lantana" isn't about any of these things; a fact which is made clear in the end when the final puzzle piece is dropped into place. A must see for mature realists into serious drama.


This is one of those rarities, a movie which walks the tightrope between being a perfect drama and an absorbing mystery and does it spectacularly well. The first hour is dedicated to establishing the various characters like the cop, his wife, the woman he is fooling around with, her estranged husband, the neighbors of the women etc. The interplay between the characters and the different situations are very fascinating. The second half is about the disappearance of one of the characters and how the others interact and react. The acting is brilliant with Anthony Lapaglia surprisingly getting a meatier role and performing much better than Geoffrey Rush. The screenplay is simply fantastic. It is a travesty that this was not nominated for any of the major awards. perhaps it being from Australia was a reason. This is a must watch movie for buffs who love their drama with a touch of intrigue. 4 out of 5. Very well made movie.


Lantana has some nice moments where everything in the film seems to be falling into place (more in terms of its internal logic and aesthetics than in any sense of plot resolution), and it has a modest, documentary quality that captures middle class lifestyle in an interesting and infrequently seen fashion. (It's ironic that with todays special effects dominating the movies that you can see everything except the way we actually live presented on the screen).

On the downside, the movie is extremely tedious, unfocussed, and ultimately clumsily constructed.

In terms of its formal structure it is pursuing the genre of intertwined short stories pioneered by Robert Altman in movies like Nashville and Short Cuts, and most specifically plays out like an Aussie Magnolia, where these intertwined stories continually intersect in coincidental fashion.

Unlike Magnolia, however, the movie demonstrates little sense of humor about its use of such coincidence to drive the plot forward; everything seems to be played for melodramatic effect, so that in some respects the tone comes to resemble an American soap opera: bickering families, incestuous affairs, dark secrets that are dying to get out under every roof, all interspersed with long, suffering gazes by the several protagonists.

The plot feels over-constructed; the irony is that by tying things up a little too neatly the director suffocates the story with theme, and ultimately creates a film that doesn't seem to mean much of anything. Altman, who can be credited with, if not inventing this style of filmmaking (perhaps the soap operas, after all, deserve that credit), at least with being the first to exploit it completely, understands that the chaos between the coincidence is a necessary component both in terms of realism, and in its ability to make the meaning seem organic to the situation, rather than imposed by an author.

Lantana is an interesting movie, but it isn't a very good one.


This film shows Australia, not as a sunny soap opera land, but life as it happens. There were many twists and turns throughout and showed just how small a community can be. Particularly enjoyed the sharp Aussie wit and black humour that flowed with the unfolding of the plot.

Antony LaPaglia plays a believable role and as sub plot you see his character change in the space of two hours.

All in all a very enjoyable film.


This movie is so bad that the movie channel I watched it on had to run a half hour of interviews after it with cast and director explaining it. But I was too disgusted to bother watching. Any movie that is too obscure to communicate its own a point is, well, pointless.

I have read comments raving about the 'character development'. Sorry, I don't see it. They are the same messed up losers at the end as at the beginning.The only development is that some get unhappier.

I figured out that the 'message' must be 'what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive'- learned that in preschool. But even the honest characters get treated badly, so maybe that isn't the message. " Life is hard and screws people up" isn't a message either.

The twaddle in the documentary about 'social commentary on relationships and how people treat each other' doesn't save the fact there is no lesson. It is trite that a morality play must have a moral, and this did not.

Perhaps it is an absurdist treatise. Give me " Waiting For Godot" or " Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" any day. The wit in those gives them life. " Lantana" reeks of death, or maybe it just smells like excrement.

There is some fine acting and interesting vignettes here in search of a movie.Perhaps a more experienced director might have realized that he needed to find it. Where is David Mamet when you need him?


The only Oz movie I can remember that is worse than this is "Bliss", at least nobody could understand Bliss unless they had consumed prohibited substances. I see it was adapted from a play which is about talking, well the scriptwriter had a holiday on this lemon. Time and time again I've gone to movies the critics loved and found them a)incomprehensible or b) just boring. This movie is just boring. Wooden performances by LaPaglia, Rush (the world's most overrated actor) are counter balanced by soapie performances from Kerry Armstrong and Rachael Blake, who definitely need formal training in acting. I can't understand how Barbara Hershey got a part maybe it was be kind to hasbeens week. My big regret is i paid good money to see this garbage. There have been worse movies... like the "Tiger Woods Story"


My wife and I got a good night's sleep the other night, trying to watch this uninvolving snoozer. Painfully boring, this movie plods along following the lives of uninteresting people who live very uninteresting lives. An incident occurs one night (after an hour of the film) that somehow ties them all together. The setup was boring. The incident was boring. The ending was boring. This was a painful movie that went absolutely nowhere. You want character study (as I've heard this film described as)? Go rent "You Can Count On Me".


This movie was NOT a thriller, it was a bore. It is about cheating when you're in a relationship. The movie's main plot is not the doctor's disappearance. Skip it. Barbara Hershey barely had 15 minutes of on screen time, which was a waste. Geoffrey Rush may as well have not even been in the movie.


As this is my first ever comment on any film and having been warned that I should tell you the reader that I will be writing a spoiler if I comment on the plot without warning you in advance and forever be banned from commenting on other films by the IMDB, I will do so now. I will be commenting on part of the plot and should you not wish to know about the plot, read no further. In my humble opinion this film, "Lantana", misused the talents of some very fine actors and actresses by impaling them with a thinly disguised soap opera that had characters as thin as tissue paper. Without knowing some of the culture of Australia, such as the importance of having a mate, which is an undeveloped theme in the movie and leaves part of the movie hanging in midair, "Lantana" does not appeal to a broad audience. Here's the plot (spoiler) bit. One character throws a woman's shoe in a tangle of bush after a night out with his mates; his wife works two jobs to keep them. He looks after the children, except when he's out with his mates. Sorting out the who, how, why and what of the shoe in the tangle of bush is central to sorting out one of the tangles of a "mystery." And there are some very thin (in my opinion) sub-plots in a failed attempt to flesh out the characters which actually seems to confuse things without adding anything to the movie as a whole. Had we had several previous episodes, as in a television series, in which to get to know the characters, they would have been more developed, believable, and knowable. (There were some potentially very interesting characters in "Lantana".) Their lives and their actions may have made more sense to us with the whole of the film hanging together. Where I live we get films from all over the world and I have seen a number of "Australian" Australian films, so I know they can and do make good films. So do other countries. After I have seen a movie, I usually have feelings about the movie: happiness, sadness, "Why do we we exist?", "What a superb film.", "OK, but...", "So bad, it could be good.", or "Wow!"; but seldom do I have the feeling of wondering why they even bothered. My purpose in writing this is simply to state how deeply disappointed I was about "Lantana".


This would have to be, without doubt, one of the most boring films I have ever had to endure. An utterly depressing and bleak portrayal of a bunch of navel gazing neurotics.

If this monumental waste of celluloid is meant to be 'saying something' most normal, well balanced people simply wouldn't get the message.

What a bunch of twisted, down trodden losers all the characters are in this drag of a film. It starts off slowly and quickly grinds to a complete halt long before the closing credits start to roll.

Next time you run out of sleeping pills stick this DVD in our player and you'll nod off within minutes.

Offers about as much entertainment value as clearing a blocked drain pipe.


Now it's about ten minutes I've seen the ending credits of Lantana. And I tell you what, it must be something in that movie if I have such an urge to comment it right away...

Basically it was two-hours-lasting soap-opera to me. The plot was dragging horribly, dialogues were weak as hell, stupid coincidences aplenty, predictable scenes, really, I've nearly left in the middle...

Every one of the characters seemed like weak, overreacting wretch, too consumed with their own emotions to live, to me. Some say because it was so stuffed with inner tensions and lusts, that's why the story was so true and appealing and I don't know what else. But truly I didn't find the behavior of the characters that realistic and true...

And anyway, people are weak and pathetic sometimes, we're all only humans after all, but that's not reason to amplify that and put it on tape. Not for me. I really had no fun with Lantana...

And my final point. The tagline reads 'love is the greatest mystery'. How this film puts it, I find nothing mysterious about it. You neglect to care of what you've got and start caring when it's gone or on its way there. It's not mysterious, seems like normal or logical to me. Only death breeds in stagnant waters so everyone needs change. And the very same change may be the drive for you to get back to your stereotype.

And I dare to think you don't need this film to remind you of that. 4/10 at best.