After coming out last year in Poland, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s directorial debut, The Lure finally made its premiere here in the States at the Sundance Film Festival all the wat back in January. After receiving generally positive buzz at the festival, The Lurefinally comes to New York City this month as part of the Panorama Europe Film Festival at the Museum of Moving Image. Having not know much about this when it was announced for Sundance, I became intrigued in checking it out after hearing that it was a “Polish mermaid musical,” which sadly isn’t as fun as I would have hoped.
Much to my disappointment, The Lure is yet another case of something that is much more suited as a short film than a full-length narrative. Smoczynska indeed has crafted a stunning film, but there is nothing to it beyond the sparkly flash to it. The musical numbers lack any real sense of understanding of how to stage and choreograph its bodies in motion. Frankly, the whole ordeal looks messy. It’s as if someone didn’t even bother to stage the entire film and the actors were just told to do some vague actions in front of the camera. There is no apparent sense of direction in the frame, which gives it this unflattering sense of an improvisational feeling to it.
Smoczynska also doesn’t seem to care about her narrative, which follows two homicidal mermaid sisters. On paper, this is something that surely make for an entertaining experience, right? The Lure somehow managed to It’s aggravating to see something focus so heavily on its visual sense, but present no apparent consideration for its story. Maybe this is something that would have worked much better in a festival environment, but at home, The Lure makes for one of the most tedious cinematic experiences of the year so far.
The Lure screens at 7:00 at The Museum of Moving Image on May 22nd as part of The Panorama Europe Film Festival. Tickets can be purchased here.