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Lantana

Year: 2001
Production Co: Jan Chapman Films
Director: Ray Lawrence
Producer: Jan Chapman
Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Kerry Armstrong, Rachael Blake, Barbara Hershey, Vince Colosimo, Peter Phelps, Glenn Robbins
A tangled web weaved after the plant of the title, an Australian bracken that grows thick in huge bushes with long, strips of branches covered in thorns - it couldn't have been a better parable for the story. Some of Australia's most understated actors give their best (particulary Blake and Armstrong, who both shine) in a film part drama/exploration of modern relationships, part murder mystery, where everyone has a very personal stake in what's going on. Far fetched as far as such an enclosed circle of people with so many interconnections between them, but deservedly a landmark in the Australian film industry. Tends to male-bash to an extent, making all the men cold, emotionless cads and the women of the story the poor darlings at their mercy in need of love (not altogether untrue in modern Australian society and certainly highlighted by the characterisations).

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