Movieline's Hollywood Life - 12/01/2001
"...The film is graced with forceful performances from a terrific ensemble..."
New York Times - 12/14/2001
"...LANTANA manages to hold complexity and coherence in balance....An astonishingly well acted film..."
USA Today - 12/14/2001
"...A very adult picture with adult concerns that lingers in the mind the way so many of this year's Hollywood releases have not..."
Rolling Stone - 01/17/2002
"...A hothouse thriller of tangled sexuality....The acting is top-notch, and LaPaglia, who makes the cop's torment palpable, gives the performance of his career..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/31/2002
"...A web of emotional hope and betrayal, linked by unexpected connections....Subtle, touching..."
Sight and Sound - 09/01/2002
"...LANTANA is a celebration of emotional openness and honesty..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/17/2002
"...Mesmerizing....The movie offers a gratifyingly sophisticated meditation on the vagaries of modern marriage..."
Wall Street Journal - 08/13/2010
"[T]he extraordinary richness of the film, which is set in Sydney and was directed by Ray Lawrence from a script by Andrew Bovnell, lies in its interlocking relationships..."
Ray Lawrence's LANTANA is an intelligent, well-written, well-acted film that is much more than just another cop thriller--it's more like YOU CAN COUNT ON ME with its realistic, complex relationships and believable characters. The film opens with a slow pan over a dead body, eerily reminiscent of BLUE VELVET. Anthony LaPaglia stars as Leon, a Sydney police detective who is cheating on his wife, Sonja (Kerry Armstrong), with a married woman from their dance class (Rachael Blake), even though he still loves his wife. There's something missing from his life, but he's not sure what. His relationship with his son is strained, and even his partner, Claudia (Leah Purcell), knows something is wrong. But as his affair heats up and a murder mystery that seems to involve all of the people in his life begins to consume his attentions, he is forced to reexamine his future both as a family man and a cop.
LANTANA won seven Australian Film Institute Awards, including best picture, best director for Lawrence, best actor for LaPaglia, best actress for Armstrong, best supporting awards for both Blake and Colosimo, and best adapted screenplay by Andrew Bovell, who based the script on his play SPEAKING IN TONGUES. As the murder investigation gets more complicated and the tangled web leads to even more lying, cheating, and deception, the acting intensifies, and the sharp dialogue allows the characters to blossom as beautifully as the lantana bush referred to in the title.