The Lure is a fun movie”

by C. Rachel Katz

I’ve seen a lot of movies, all kinds of movies, but never before have I seen a Polish musical about man-eating mermaids. This was a first for me.

Silver and Gold are two mermaids who enchant a trio of musicians. The musicians are the house band at a local club, and the mermaids join the act. Silver and Gold prove wildly popular, but their complicated relationship with the band and with each other threatens to be their undoing.

Being wholly unfamiliar with Polish cinema, I can’t speak to its sensibilities and my approach to The Lure is as a total outsider. That having been said, this film is weird. Characters enter the story with no introduction, one guy walks out on his wife with no explanation (I didn’t know they were married), and there’s a huge leap forward in time toward the end of the story. In truth, I expect a movie about killer mermaids to be strange, but I honestly don’t know if The Lure’s weirdness comes from within or without.

The literal English translation of the The Lure‘s Polish title, Corki dancingu, is “Daughters of the Dance Club,” and it lends some insight to the film’s coming-of-age themes. Smoczynska grew up in the club scene and The Lure recreates and represents big moments in her life: her first drink; her first cigarette. Silver and Gold only know the club, and Gold in particular wants to experience life outside the club. She seeks out a merman who is the front man for a metal band, but is rebuked. Silver’s feelings only extend as far as their bassist, and she wants to stay with him, at the club. Silver and Gold are very much daughters of the dance club, and like all girls, they suffer growing pains as they stumble from one new experience to the next.

The Lure
Directed by
Agnieszka Smoczynska
Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Pries
Release Date
23 September 2016
Rachel’s Grade: B+

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The Lure‘s very personal setting isn’t obvious to the audience, but the film’s other influence, Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, is writ large on screen. Silver and Gold initially lure the band to them through song, and their massive appeal is due to partly to their talent as singers. Gold warns Silver not to fall in love with Mietek, lest she loose her voice, or worse. Fairy tales are easily adapted for horror, and The Lure makes good use of the dark side of love and devotion. The film’s visual excess serve to heighten the characters’ emotional turmoil.

The Lure is a fun movie and there’s no doubt the music is the reason why. The synth-heavy soundtrack has a retro appeal, backed up by an ’80s-inspired (and award-winning) production design. Some of the musical numbers are set in the club and are, in fact, the band’s own performance, and some are more along the lines of what one would expect from a traditional musical. Others still are a mix of narrative and emotion. Although I don’t speak a word of Polish, I’m tempted to track down the soundtrack nonetheless; simply put, I like the music.

The Lure was paired with Dennis is in the Bathtub, a short film about an angry merman. My friends and I agreed that director Steve Murphy should buy a lotto ticket, because how lucky is he that his mermaid movie got programmed with another mermaid movie.