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5.0 1
Director: Ray Lawrence,

Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey

From its Citizen Kane-like opening shot -- in which an invasive camera slowly moves through dense shrubbery and ultimately reveals the body of a dead woman -- Lantana evokes an eerie, unsettling atmosphere. Visually and aurally, the Lions Gate Home Entertainment DVD release of the critically acclaimed Australian film, which has been compared to Robert


From its Citizen Kane-like opening shot -- in which an invasive camera slowly moves through dense shrubbery and ultimately reveals the body of a dead woman -- Lantana evokes an eerie, unsettling atmosphere. Visually and aurally, the Lions Gate Home Entertainment DVD release of the critically acclaimed Australian film, which has been compared to Robert Altman's Short Cuts and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, earns high marks from its very first scene. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track gets a chance to kick in immediately as an ambient insect buzzing accompanies the drawn-out zoom and builds to a feverish pitch, while the colors of the aforementioned lantana plant are vivid and sharp, thanks to an excellent 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Also worth noting in regards to the sound is Paul Kelly's haunting score, which further highlights the film's moodiness and unites the intersecting lives of the characters. Most of Lantana consists of dark scenes, but thankfully, the DVD offers plenty of contrast and brightness, with very precise shadows. Particularly memorable is a series of later scenes involving a nighttime car accident and subsequent chase through moonlit wilderness. The only real significant extra here is an enjoyable 24-minute making-of documentary called "The Nature of Lantana." The large ensemble cast (Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey) and crew (director Ray Lawrence, screenwriter Andrew Bovell) passionately discuss their enthusiasm for the project and the film's thematic elements. Only one question remains: Why is Lantana, which won seven Australian Film Institute Awards including best film, Lawrence's first movie since 1985's Bliss?

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
Marital discord takes on fatal dimensions in this moody and absorbing Australian drama set in and around Sydney. Lantana plays like a murder mystery, but the expertly constructed screenplay, adapted by Andrew Bovell from his play Speaking in Tongues, is more interested in exploring the intertwined lives of several characters and the different forms betrayal takes within their troubled marriages. It’s something of a triumph on the part of Bovell and director Ray Lawrence that they manage to make each one of these unglamorous, middle-aged individuals and their relationships compelling and believable. The soul of the movie is Anthony LaPaglia, a depressed homicide detective given to inarticulate rages who, for reasons he doesn’t fully understand, is cheating on his wife (Kerry Armstrong) with a lonely, newly separated woman (Rachael Blake). Barbara Hershey plays Armstrong’s therapist, whose own marriage to Geoffrey Rush has been frosted by the grief the couple feels over the recent murder of their preteen daughter. The movie takes its time in establishing these characters and their predicaments, so that by the time one of the principals disappears (murdered, it's presumed,), the viewer is considering much more complex questions than simply whodunit? Lantana, which swept all the major film awards in Australia, succeeds on the basis of superb performances, nuanced writing, and its air of subtle yet pervasive menace. A world apart from the sensationalistic storytelling of Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction, Lantana paints a quietly devastating portrait of contemporary marriage.
All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
The degrees of separation among the eight principal characters in Lantana usually boil down to one, though they are drawn from an economically and socially diverse cross section of Sydney, Australia. Films that begin with a shot of a corpse usually require a resourceful detective to figure out "whodunit," but in this case, the detective Leon Zat is a man cheating on his wife, drinking too hard, and all too easily suspicious of the dead person's spouse. But Lantana is really not a mystery, though its central riddle will keep most viewers guessing until the end. It uses a death among its principals to explore the bonds of marriage and friendship. As one of the males says, "Most men are hiding something," which may be a self-serving remark, but it's true of almost everyone here, male and female. The flip side of keeping secrets is imagining the worst and then actively thinking about it until it becomes your reality. It's no way to live, let alone keep a marriage thriving, and Lantana illustrates that point in absorbing fashion. Amazingly, its director, Ray Lawrence, has made only one other feature (Bliss, a 1985 satire) and is best known in Australia for his work directing commercials. On the basis of this film, he clearly understands how to tell a complicated story, thanks in part to writer Andrew Bovell's expansion of his stage play, Speaking in Tongues. The filmmakers deftly use Sydney, a city where development is sometimes cheek by jowl with the wild bush, as an important element.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
The movie just seems to happen, to grow out of the ground like a thorny plant, revealing the intricate intelligence of its design only in hindsight.
Hollywood Reporter
A strong, consistently engrossing drama that boils with emotions distinctly real and recognizable. Erin Free
Intricate, elegant, sophisticated and multilayered drama. John Anderson

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

16×9 Widescreen (2.35:1); 5.1 Dolby Digital; Behind-the-scenes footage; Trailer; Interactive menus; Scene access; English and Spanish subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anthony LaPaglia Leon Zat
Geoffrey Rush John Knox
Barbara Hershey Dr. Valerie Somers
Kerry Armstrong Sonja Zat
Rachael Blake Jane O'May
Vince Colosimo Nik D'Amato
Peter Phelps Patrick Phelan
Leah Purcell Claudia Weis
Glenn Robbins Pete O'May

Technical Credits
Ray Lawrence Director
Mikael Borglund Executive Producer
Andrew Bovell Screenwriter
Tony Campbell Art Director
Jan Chapman Producer
Jamie Crooks Asst. Director
Paul Kelly Score Composer
Susie Maizels Casting
Rainer Mockert Executive Producer
Andrew Plain Sound/Sound Designer
Mandy Walker Cinematographer
Margot Wilson Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Lantana Bush [4:11]
2. Sex [3:53]
3. Eleanor [5:26]
4. Infidelity [4:55]
5. Dignity [3:54]
6. Collision [3:40]
7. Partner [8:23]
8. Judging [5:12]
9. Betrayal [4:50]
10. Bad Day [4:20]
11. Good Stuff [3:14]
12. Dancing [7:49]
13. Emotional State [8:53]
14. Words [4:28]
15. Numb [3:41]
16. Dilemma [3:03]
17. Focused [4:10]
18. Grief [6:17]
19. Interrogation [4:41]
20. Comfort [3:34]
21. The Truth [7:09]
22. Breakdown [4:56]
23. Change [5:26]
24. End Credits [4:31]


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Lantana 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic movie ala Magnolia. This time the catalyst is a missing psychiatrist. Lapaglia is first rate and so is Geoffrey Rush. The supporting cast completes the perfect package and the ending is wrapped up tightly with the help of some great Latin music. It is too bad it doesn't get enough play because it is worth five stars plus!