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Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

As Detective Leon Zat (Anthony Lapaglia) and his partner Claudia Weis (Leah Purcell) attempt to solve the mystery of a woman's disappearance, a seemingly impenetrable labyrinth of love, sex and deceit emerges.

John Knox (Geoffrey Rush) and his therapist wife Valerie (Barbara Hershey) are struggling to deal with a personal tragedy. Jane O'May (Rachael Blake) and Pete (Glenn Robbins) are separated and she's on the lookout for something better. Only unemployed Nik D'Amato (Vince Colosimo) and his hardworking wife Paula (Daniela Farinacci) seem to have it right.

Leon's doing it tough. He's trying to unravel the case, but it's causing him to unravel - like picking at a loose thread. His wife, Sonia (Kerry Armstrong), is trying to dance off her worries down at the salsa club while her husband's jogging the streets of Sydney. Anything rather than discuss what's going on.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Lantana image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film crime ensemble drugs murder tragedy police psychiatrist Australia

Persons of interest

  • Anthony Lapaglia .... Detective Leon Zat
  • Leah Purcell .... Claudia Weis
  • Geoffrey Rush .... John Knox
  • Barbara Hershey .... Valerie
  • Rachael Blake .... Jane O'May
  • Glenn Robbins .... Pete
  • Vince Colosimo .... Nik D'Amato
  • Daniela Farinacci .... Paula D'Amato
  • Kerry Armstrong .... Sonia Zat
  • Peter Phelps .... Patrick Phelan
  • Russell Dykstra .... Michael
  • Nicholas Cooper .... Sam Zat
  • Marc Dwyer .... Dylan Zat
  • Andrew Bovell .... Playwright: Speaking in tongues
  • Andrew Bovell .... Screenwriter
  • Ray Lawrence .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Awards and film festivals:
  • FYI: Lantana camara is a noxious and troublesome weed with dense and spiky undergrowth, sometimes cultivated for its colourful aromatic flowers.
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Prickly pear.

Andrew Bovell has made the translation from stage play to screenplay very well; there are only a few hints that Lantana was created for a live medium. The plot twists, turns and intertwines just like its namesake, the characters are like layers of paint in a renovator's dream: as each layer is peeled back a whole new colour scheme is revealed, the personality of a whole new decorator is uncovered.

The actors are all good, especially Kerry Armstrong who is most familiar to Australians as the blonde wife in Seachange. She's still a blonde wife but now her roots are showing through. Anthony Lapaglia, ostensibly the lead actor in the film, plays a character who's as much a plot device as a participant. He spends half his time uniting everyone else's lives into the (mostly) coherent whole (not that I have any great fondness for Anthony - as an actor he's about as vibrantly stimulating as Ray Martin's hairpiece).

Lantana is a solid little film about the hellish life of suburban Sydneysiders and the way that people hit 30 and start digging their graves while they still can.


Remember, the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, single layer
  • Features:
    • Behind-the-scenes: The nature of "Lantana"
    • Biographies: Cast and crew
    • Commentary: Andrew Bovell (Screenwriter), Ray Lawrence (Director), Producer
    • Documentary: Making-of
    • Trailers: Theatrical
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes, low level coarse language, low level sex scenes)

Surveillance time

115 minutes (1:55 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 8 June 2001 - Sydney Film Festival
Film: 4 October 2001 - National
DVD rental: 24 April 2002
VHS rental: 24 April 2002
DVD retail: 14 August 2002
VHS retail: 14 August 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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