Lantana DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
A woman (Barbara Hershey) disappears. Police detective Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia), consumed with guilt about cheating on his wife, becomes embroiled in a missing persons investigation. Four couples are drawn into the tangled web of love, deceit, sex and death. Their secrets and lies crisscross Leon's investigation and illuminate the personal crisis he must resolve.

In the end, everyone has something to hide ... and not all of them will survive.
THE EXTRAS
Behind The Scenes Footage

In a rather extensive doc*mentary titled THE NATURE OF LANTANA, this behind the scenes look at the film is in many ways more interesting then the film itself. With candid exposes of all the major players(director, producer, writer, cast, and select crew) this doc*mentary tells you more then you could ever want to to know about the film itself. I liked how this wasn't too stylized or moody even though the film was. It looks like the maker of this doc decided to just grab a camcorder, shoot some interviews and then assemble them together so that we could see this films journey from finished script to finished film.

I was particularly inspired by how one of the producers spoke about giving up on the production, only to then have the money come through. The producer then mentioned that maybe that's how you "have" to make films, by giving up and then letting it come back to you. In a film that is all about love, faith and emotions this doc*mentary featurette brings that point home in spades.

Trailer

This trailer is what actually made me go see the film in the theater. I liked how it doesn't tell you too much and very much plays on what you might expect only to then watch the movie and get something else.

Interactive Menus, Scene Access, English and Spanish Subtitles

This dvd is pretty straight forward. I would have liked to have had the option of a director's commentary or a director or writer's commentary but they aren't on here. My feeling is that LANTANA is such a dense film in terms of the way it's structured and it's plot, that the makers may feel that it's something that people should experience without any help from it's creators. Also, THE NATURE OF LANTANA featurette is so extensive that those behind the film might have felt that any more explanation may have killed whatever mystique they felt the film had.
THE VIDEO
Presented in 16x9 Widescreen (2:35:1) this film was a helluva lot sharper then I remember it being in the dingy art house I watched it in. Dvd's can be hit or miss with their compression, but this movie seemed to hit it out of the park. This picture is crystal clear and even on the small television that the Mush re-watched it on, everything looked beautiful.
THE AUDIO
Home theater enthusiasts will be more then happy with this films 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. This is a very moody film and a lot of times it depends on those "silent moments" to get the point across, but the sound is a big factor and it is no less underscored here. Certainly, no complaints from the Mush.
THE FINAL WORD
When I first saw this film back in 2001, I really liked it. I came home and recommended it to my mother who loved it. Upon watching the film again in 2003, I think that it lost something. Maybe it's me, but I found the whole affair to be dreadfully boring and slow. It didn't move with any of the unexpectedness that the film had the first time, but I think this might have something to do with the fact that I had seen it before. When I first screened this film I remember really watching it. Picking up on everything. I got the film and I enjoyed the experience. I find that some films are like that. You watch them once and that is enough. You "get it" the first time.

Everything is top notch. The acting, the story structure, the writing ... this is a very solid movie. I was just hoping to pop it into my dvd player and get all wrapped up in the characters again, but it didn't happen. I was looking at the clock and wondering how long this movie actually was. It sure seemed a lot more then then the 120 minutes this movie actually is. I was tempted to skip ahead a bit just to quicken the pace, and maybe get lost within the construct of the film so that I would have to refigure everything out again but it never happened.

All in all, I would tell people if you have seem this film there is no need to see it again. But if you haven't, and given that it was an art house movie you probably haven't, rent this film and then decide if it's worth adding to your dvd collection.

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