There are few words that can describe Agnieszka Smoczynska’s “The Lure” better than hallucinatory, or surreal, or borderline-psychedelic. It’s like putting together a mixture of “The Little Mermaid” and an edgy, high-art Bjork-ish music video then blowing it up to feature length. As that description entails, there’s always something interesting going on on screen, and the Smoczynska’s direction is so funky and perpetually interesting that it’s impossible not to get sucked into the narrative, however strange and occasionally impenetrable it can feel. Leads Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska are alternately fascinating and intimidating as a pair of mermaids who become singing sensations in an underground club, and Smoczynska manages to make their mermaid tails downright monstrous and frightening. The musical segments are visually arresting and are also effectively used to push the narrative forward, so there’s nary a slow or uninteresting moment from beginning to end. Mind you, that hyper-stylized approach also precludes the audience from engaging with the characters, so there are few emotional stakes throughout, but it’s one of the most visually effective, fascinating and creepy movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)