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The Lure is a frequently bizarre, occasionally nasty escapade that only uses the mythical creature as a means of eviscerating misogyny and chauvinism (Palka Robert/Courtesy of Janus Films)
The Lure is a frequently bizarre, occasionally nasty escapade that only uses the mythical creature as a means of eviscerating misogyny and chauvinism (Palka Robert/Courtesy of Janus Films)

film review

The Lure: A bizarre but captivating mermaid tale Add to ...

  • Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska
  • Written by Robert Bolesto
  • Starring Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, and Andrzej Konopka

For one reason or another, Hollywood has caught a serious case of mermaid fever. In addition to Chris Bouchard and Blake Harris’s upcoming live-action rendition of The Little Mermaid, set for release this year and starring Shirley MacLaine (although not, sadly, as the title character), Disney is planning a Lin-Manuel Miranda revamp of its animated musical and Universal was also mulling a Sofia Coppola version, once upon a time.

Do not, however, mistake Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure as part of this Ariel-centric trend. Her new film involves mermaids, sure, but it’s a frequently bizarre, occasionally nasty escapade that only uses the mythical creature as a means of eviscerating misogyny and chauvinism.

Here, that means a story in which comely mermaid sisters Srebrna (Marta Mazurek) and Zlota (Michalina Olszanska) become an improbable Warsaw cabaret sensation, when not battling their insatiable bloodlust (they have to eat hearts to stay alive, you see). The result is hallucinatory and puzzling, but never anything less than captivating. Just don’t expect an ear-wormy Under the Sea cover.

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