Two mermaid sisters swim up to the Warsaw shore one night and encounter a family of musicians. Looking for some fun, they join the family’s band, which performs at a nightly cabaret club. Given the names Silver and Golden by the club owner, they become instant audience favourites because of their youthful beauty and serene singing voices. When Silver starts to fall in love with bassist Mietek, however, the more bloodthirsty Golden foresees doom.
The Lure is certainly one of the more original pictures of the year – a neon-lit fairy tale of man-eating mermaids and romance. It’s also a full-on musical – the first musical, actually, that has ever been made in Poland. Seemingly inspired by rock operas and ’80s new wave music, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s debut feature is an absurd tragicomic feast for the senses.
As the winsome but naïve Silver and the more cunning Golden, Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska, keep you firmly invested in their plights, navigating a hostile human world much like Scarlett Johansson’s alien creature in Under the Skin did. Although here they are, first and foremost, interested in having a good time before planning to eventually swim to America. Both actresses throw themselves full stop into the nightclub act, in sequences sure to slap a giddy grin on your face.
Smoczynska nicely balances a classic folktale with more contemporary sensibilities, although some of the underlying commentary could have been expanded on more for the climax to achieve its maximum impact. Nonetheless, The Lure moves along briskly at a beat you can dance to.