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  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
from Film Forum, 01/10/02

Lantana, from Australian direction Ray Lawrence (Bliss), is impressing critics and audiences in art-house theatres during a limited release. This is the story of Detective Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia), a good cop, but a bad husband. When Leon takes on the investigation of a missing person that brings him into contact with three married couples, his own extramarital affair intensifies, and soon his future as both a husband and a cop is jeopardized.

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) credits the filmmakers with providing "a powerful, heartfelt, positive denouement that rebukes infidelity and extols marriage and family." But the movie's parable-like depictions of truth are not enough for him; he argues that the movie would have "played more strongly" if it had included "Christian or scriptural references."

The USCC's critic, however, calls it an "intriguing psychological drama. Confronting unpleasant truths about relationships, marital infidelity and human foibles, director Ray Lawrence incisively probes the psyches of the realistically depicted characters in an intelligent film with strong performances."

Meanwhile, mainstream critics applaud it as a unique crime story. A.O. Scott (The New York Times) calls it "an astonishingly well-acted film, so much so that it seems unfair to single out any of the performances. Mr. Lawrence's camera sense is as sure and unobtrusive as his feel for acting. The movie just seems to happen … revealing the intricate intelligence of its design only in hindsight."

Erin Free (The Hollywood Reporter) calls it "a slick, stylish drama that seethes with dark, passionate undertones. It gets inside the idea of love and marriage and skillfully paints a picture that bristles not only with paranoia and betrayal but also with hope and compassion."