Sundance Review: 'The Lure' is a quintessential Sundance experience

Michalina Olszanska in THE LURE (Robert Palka)

(KUTV) As someone who sees numerous films every week I head into Sundance hoping to find a film that is far removed from the conventions of Hollywood; it's all the more rewarding when the film turns out to be as enjoyable as it is experimental.

"The Lure" is a Polish mermaid musical that manages to celebrate the darker aspects of the creature's mythology while also turning the folklore on its ear by transforming the man-eating sirens into a kitschy act in a '80s influenced nightclub.

Mermaid sisters Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska) are headed for America, but Silver's interest in a musician (Jakub Gierszal) delays the duo's departure as she explores the many facets of falling in love with a human. As their stay is prolonged Golden becomes increasingly frustrated by her sister's infatuation, but finds distraction in the way that their singing career seems to be taking off.

On paper it sounds rather pedestrian, but Agnieszka Smoczyska's direction, Robert Bolesto's script and songs by Polish group Ballady i Romanse transform the story into a hypnotic collage of sleazy '80s comedies, classic MTV videos that never were and B-movie gore.

In her post-film Q&A Smoczyska talked about how there were aspects of the film that were inspired by her life as well as the experiences of Ballady i Romanse's Barbara Wronska and Zuzanna Wronska. Rather than telling personal stories about growing up in a nightclub environment and the bond between sisters, the decision was made to create a fantasy world where mermaids could serve as a metaphor.

This choice is a brave and welcomed one. There's still plenty of room in the cinematic world for coming-of-age dramas, but telling the story of two sisters threatened to be torn apart when one falls in love via a truly unique musical presentation is a welcomed decision. Throw in the mermaid aspects and it becomes something magical and otherworldly, like Tim Burton's "Big Fish" taken two steps further away from the mainstream.

If you're looking for a truly unique and bizarre film that is grounded in real world emotions, then I highly recommend "The Lure."

Upcoming Sundance Film Festival screenings of 'The Lure:'

Sunday, Jan. 24 at 8:30 p.m., Egyptian Theatre (Park City)
Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 11:45 p.m., Egyptian Theatre (Park City)
Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1 (Park City)
Saturday, Jan. 30 at 3:00 p.m., Temple Theatre (Park City)

Follow Ryan on Twitter for entertainment and movie news: @ryanMpainter

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