The Lure Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review
The water, deep and black, moves forward and backward. A man, accompanied by bandmates, plays music on the beach, strumming his guitar and singing to the moon. From the water emerges two heads. A look from the distance prompts the women in the water to sing along, luring two men from the shore.
The women, Silver (Marta Mazurek, I, OLGA) and Golden (Michalina Olszańska, FANCIFAL), are mermaids. When in or exposed to water, they boast a lengthy, slimy, definitive tail. On land, it’s revealed, they have legs. When stripped, however, more (or, rather, less) is made apparent–they have no genitalia and their lower body is, as one character notes, smooth like a Barbie’s. Silver and Golden join up with a nightclub after the sleazy, opportunistic owner (Zygmunt Malanowicz, ALL THAT I LOVE) discovers their secret. It’s at this nightclub that Silver and Golden join up with a band headed by a nurturing singer (Kinga Preis, THE MIGHTY ANGEL), proving to be eye-catching backup singers, donning bright, sparkling costumes that, in a way, resemble the texture of a mermaid’s tail. When they leap into a tank of water, the crowd goes wild, ensuring the undeniable presence of the women.
The tale is a meshing of genres–it’s part fantasy, part musical, part horror–that considers its era, its surroundings, its characters. And it all works, in much part because of the confidence of its stars and director, Agnieszka Smoczyńska.
If THE LURE sounds out there, that’s because it is. It is unlike any film before it, unique in its intentions, telling and delivery. But it is much more. There is something wildly disturbing about it–and not just in the blood. THE LURE (CORKI DANINGU in its native Polish) has much to say and does so in an intelligent manner. It is clear that Silver and Golden are more attractive when wet; consider this in a non-cinematic context and immediately there is an element of creepiness. Additionally, a male character believes just a splash of water is enough to achieve his desires; that he sets himself up as the one who introduces it suggests an element of sexual abuse, perhaps rape. THE LURE, in this sense, is an indictment of the male sexual psyche. (That the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein came less than a week before Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray release only underlines this, hammering home some points made in the film.)
The film, too, reveals the dangers of young sexuality and the temptations therein. Silver has a sexual longing for one of the band members, while Golden has an undeniable thirst for blood–they, by their nature, must satisfy the urges, no matter the cost.
At least partly inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (the opening credits are reminiscent of a storybook, too), Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s THE LURE is a surreal, dynamic trip. It is for a very limited audience, but that audience will immediately find it to be a favorite.
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 codec. “This film was shot with an ARRI ALEXA camera in ARRIRAW format (3.2K), and the production was completed in a fully digital workflow. The DPX files were color-corrected in 2K resolution on an Autodesk Lustre.”
THE LURE looks wonderful on this release, with stellar details and colors, and an overall impressive image that shows off cinematographer Kuba Kijowski’s remarkable work.
Audio: Polish 5.1 Surround. Subtitles in English. “This film features a fully digital soundtrack. The 5.1 surround audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original audio master files using ProTools HD.”
The audio is also quite nice, with the music numbers standing out as highlights.
Off the Hook (41:11): This thorough and highly informative documentary features interviews with a number of the cast and crew, including director Agnieszka Smoczyńska, stars Marta Mazurek and Zygmunt Malanowicz, cinematographer Kuba Kijowski, and more.
Aria Diva (31:20): Smoczyńska’s 2007 short film, made when she attended Wajda School in Warsaw.
Viva Maria! (17:08): Smoczyńska’s 2010 documentary short on opera singer Maria Foltyn.
Deleted Scenes: There are six here, which can only be viewed separately. They are: “Alternate Opening,” “Drunk,” “Contortionist,” “Loop,” “Policewoman” and “Alternate Ending.”
Also included with this Criterion Collection release is an essay by novelist, playwright, and storyteller Angela Lovell.