the lure | agnieszka smoczynska | robert bolesto | marta mazurek | michalina olszanska | kinga preis | comedy | drama | fantasy | musical | thriller | poland | andrzej konopka | jakub gierszal | zygmunt malanowicz | mermaid | monster | monsters | creature | creatures
Film: The Lure (Córki dancingu)
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Writer: Robert Bolesto
Starring: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska and Kinga Preis
This was a film I heard a few podcasts talk about and even though musicals aren’t really my cup of tea, ones I like I tend to really like. I was even more intrigued when one of my favorite podcasters had it listed near the top of his year end when it came over to the United States. The synopsis is in Warsaw, a pair of mermaid sisters is adopted into a cabaret. While one seeks love with humans, the other hungers to dine on the human population of the city.
We start this film off with a band that is hanging out by a body of water. The two males, Perkusista (Andrezej Konopka) and Mietek (Jakub Gierszal) hear beautiful singing coming from the water. This is from a pair of mermaids, Srebrna (Marta Mazurek) and Zlota (Michalina Olszanska). Their song is enticing the men and asking them to help them on to land. With the two males is the third member of the band, Wokalistka Krysia (Kinga Preis). She starts to scream, breaking the spell.
This band plays in a local cabaret club. The owner is Kierownik sali (Zygmunt Malanowicz). He is drawn to the smell of fish. He can’t figure out where it is coming from until he comes to the dressing room for the band. There he finds the two mermaids, but they currently have human legs. After the set, the band shows what happens when you pour water on their legs as they regrow their mermaid tails. Kierownik allows them to work in his club, but they’ll sing and strip.
They get outfitted with clothes and perform the next night. It ends up being a hit and everyone loves them. Srebrna and Zlota can talk telepathically and it is through this that Srebrna is warned not to fall in love with Mietek. She assures her it won’t happen, but that is exactly what does. There is the myth that if she falls for him and he marries someone else, she will become sea foam. On top of that, he is not attracted to her as he sees her as an animal. She wants human legs that will cause her to lose her voice if she does.
Zlota on the other hand gives in to her animal instincts, killing a man from the club. This draws the attention of the police, as well as an odd singer Tryton (Marcin Kowalczyk), who might also be a creature like her.
Despite their success, we see the downward spiral that comes after and everyone has to make a decision on what to do with their lives.
I have to say, after hearing about this film, I was definitely interested to see it and actually see how crazy it is. It definitely lives up to that expectation. What struck me is that these mermaids are very similar to sirens. They have the ability to entice men and because of it they can lure them into the water. They are constantly called children by Krysia and Perkusista, which after seeing how they act, doesn’t seem to far from the truth. They are entranced by the big city life as they’ve been living a pretty simple existence.
The duality between the two mermaids is also interesting. Srebrna’s tale is not that dissimilar to The Little Mermaid. I know that many of these fairy tales are actually quite dark in their nature, so that makes sense. This film really goes the distance to show the lengths she will go for the love of Mietek. It is sad though, because no matter how much she puts herself out there, he rejects her. He does lead her on though, which I can feel her pain on that level.
On the other side, we have Zlota. She knows her existence and really just wants to stick with. She does get enticed by Tryton, but he really breaks her spirit after a performance with him. I actually liked that she really knows herself and wants to be who she really is. It is tough though because Srebrna is ruining that by wanting more.
This film also tackles the darker side of show business with things like managers taking more of a cut than they are due. How quickly you can go from being on top to being nothing again. This really hits not only the two mermaids, but it also does with the rest of the band. I was actually surprised how much allegory and sub-plots they actually fit into this film.
Next I’ll move to the pacing of the film. This is a bit difficult to do though, as the film being a musical doesn’t necessarily a coherent path. We jump into some musical numbers that are fantastic, but I can’t hold that against the film too much. I do think that we get some good references to things earlier in the film that end up coming full circle later. I personally liked the ending and I thought it definitely was satisfying. It really fits both characters’ natures as well.
To the acting, I’m not going to lie; I fell in love with both Mazurek and Olszanska. I really like how similar, yet different they are. Their singing is amazing and I love how naïve both of them are as they are monsters who normally just eat humans. You can see how quickly this lifestyle has worn on them by the end though. I thought that was really interesting to see. We do get to see them topless for a good part of the film as well, which never hurts. Preis, Konopka and Gierszal I thought were interesting. They seem like good people, but success really got to them. The rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.
Something that I was concerned with coming in to see this was the effects, but I do have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the practical effects looked good like the wounds, blood and gore in the film. There wasn’t a lot, but what we get is good. There is CGI, especially with the tail and seeing the legs change into it. I was actually surprised with how well that looked. Overall I’d say this was definitely a strong part of the film.
As for the soundtrack of the film, it is quite important when you are watching a musical. All of the dialogue was in Polish including the lyrics to the song. I actually didn’t mind it and the musical numbers are actually pretty solid. I did love the idea of one of them being a hair metal style song, as that is some of my favorite music. This was also a really good part of the film. Mazurek and Olszanska both talent when it comes to their singing.
Now with that said, I had a lot of fun with this film. It is an odd concept, but it actually worked for me. I really like the idea of taking the myth behind the mermaid and incorporating into this film along with the allegories and deeper subplots. The acting is good as was the pacing of the film. I was quite surprised with how well the effects turned out and some of the things they did. The musical numbers are a bit out there at times, but overall I think it worked. I will warn you again, this film is in Polish, so if that’s an issue, I’d avoid this. If not, definitely give it a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10