Lantana Review

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Australian police detective Leon Zat (LaPaglia) investigates the disappearance of a woman, while trying to sort out his tangled love life. Meanwhile, his wife confides in a psychiatrist, who is herself convinced that her own husband may be having an affair.


Like Robert Altman's best movies, this drama/thriller is an aching examination of modern relationships concerning a handful of people who seem to have no connection at the beginning of the film, but whose lives and relationships somehow ultimately connect.

What brings them together is the catalystic disappearance of a woman, as investigated by cop Leon Zat. Unusually for a central character, Leon isn't very likeable and he's bang in the middle of a mid-life crisis that has caused him to cheat on his wife and become unnecessarily violent towards anyone who crosses his path (including an unfortunate jogger he smashes into).

LaPaglia (an Australian, although we are used to seeing him playing Italian-Americans in movies like Summer Of Sam, or Daphne's drunken English brother in Frasier) is superb as Zat. He's supported by an impressive cast, but it's his raw, uncompromising performance that makes this one of the must-see movies of the year.

A carefully observed script, beautifully developed characters and strong performances add up to an Australian winner that shouldn't be missed.