I felt the same way watching The Lure as I did when I first saw a Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton movie. This is so clearly culled from a specific and singular imagination. It showcases an assured vision and is executed with proper confidence. Agnieszka Smoczyńska has a real eye and knows exactly how to wield it.
We are plunged into a dark, exotic underworld where mermaids can survive on land as otherworldly nymphs and even become a novelty act in a sleazy nightclub. It is a sinister film, as well as being sexual and properly strange. It’s the kind of film where even the squeak of skin against a bathtub can be wince-inducing. It’s a movie swirling in dark thoughts and troubling concepts with a Cronenbergian frankness and fascination about the human – and inhuman – body and sexuality.
Everything on screen feels like a brush stroke, every creative decision – from the odd faces of the two young lead actresses to the bizzaro musical interludes and astonishing special effects that are perfectly integrated – feel intentional and in service of an all-encompassing vision for a skewed otherworld. This is a genuine genre-bender and one of the most impressive debuts I’ve seen in some time. Thanks Criterion! You done good.
Watched on Criterion blu-ray.