Starring: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Running Time: 92 mins
The Lure (Córki dancingu) is a Polish film about two mermaid sisters who are taken in by a cabaret bar, and while one soon finds love with a human, the other starts to develop a thirst for their blood.
This is such a bizarre film. Right from its very first scene, I was utterly bewildered by absolutely everything about it, and although that made for riveting watching in the early stages, it’s a film that overstays its welcome over the course of 92 minutes, proving too ‘different’ and unorthodox to really be engrossed by, and although its combination of all manner of genres makes for a unique watch, it’s not one that you’ll be totally fascinated by from start to finish.
However, before we get into why the film unfortunately misses the mark, let’s talk about its extreme uniqueness. Given that the film blends elements of the original fairytale of The Little Mermaid with darker modern drama and horror, as well as dark comedy and musical numbers, it’s fair to say that The Lure covers absolutely all bases when it comes to being something a little different.
At first, its darker side is particularly striking, with an unnerving opening scene immediately followed up by some very uncomfortable and slightly unsavoury moments that, while a little difficult to watch, are so unexpected that you can’t really take your eyes off the screen.
Then there’s the music. In all honesty, this really isn’t the sort of film that you’d expect to see spontaneous musical numbers in, but the truth is that the songs themselves aren’t all that bad. I do take issue with how abruptly characters break into song, more often than not disrupting the flow of the story and then doing little to add to the story’s development (a regular issue that many musicals suffer from), however some of the songs have very hypnotic and catchy melodies to them, to the point where you’ll end up being enchanted by just how strange they are.
However, simply being unique and different isn’t quite enough to make a great film, and that’s the biggest issue with The Lure. While it’s a memorable watch, it’s not a particularly engaging one over the course of its whole duration, largely due to a very slow pace combined with predictable character development and consistently uncomfortable sequences.
Let’s look at that last problem first, because simply being uncomfortable shouldn’t be cause for criticism, particularly if it’s an intended effect from the film. However, what I just didn’t like about some of The Lure’s more explicit sequences is that it just feels a little gratuitous, and the uncomfortable feeling that I got from the film didn’t feel like it was intended, but rather an unfortunate biproduct of some excessively explicit moments, which was a real shame to see.
What’s more is that, given how slow the whole film moves along, there’s not much to really grab onto apart from its sheer strangeness. The characters’ development is pretty predictable from the opening act, and given that the movie meanders along fairly aimlessly for the remainder of its runtime, it’s just not the most riveting watch, even though there are still a good few strange moments to keep your attention on the screen.
On the whole, I was a little disappointed by The Lure. Although it’s a film that combines all sorts of bizarre ideas into one memorably strange affair, it’s a film that’s a little too strange and unorthodox for its own good, failing to bring simple but effective character development to the forefront, while also making for an uncomfortable watch with some of its more unsavoury sequences, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.5.