THE LURE is a wickedly feminist revision of the Little Mermaid story, though our heroines are sirens, not mermaids. Sirens as in those enticing creatures that would lure sailors to their doom with their irresistible songs. In Homer’s The Odyssey, it was to see them shipwrecked, in THE LURE, it’s to dine on them. These hybrid ladies have a hankering for blood, and a song that no man, or woman, can resist. Hence this isn’t just a comedy-horror-drama, it’s also a sprightly musical.
The sirens are Silver (Mara Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszanska), comely creatures with an adolescent aspect who are stopping over in Warsaw on their way to the sunny beaches of Florida. The hunting is good, and so is their gig at the strip club, Figs and Dates, where they land a gig singing duets as seemingly normal girls before getting wet and sprouting tails. The sleazy club owner (Zygmunt Malanowicz) is less interested in, much less surprised by, the cryptozoological implications of his latest hire, as he is eager to exploit them, fingering the cloacal slit of one of them, and dressing them both up in bunny ears with, ahem, fishnet garter belts.
It’s all going well until Silver falls in love with the house band’s bassist, Mietek (Jakub Gierszal), an Adonis of sorts who can’t quite get over the fishy nature of Silver’s bottom half. There’s a metaphor there, to be sure, and not the only one in this pointed examination of the objectification of women, and their own collusion in it, witting and not. The girls may smile knowingly to one another as bleary eyes leer at them, but even they are not clever enough to drift unscathed through the flesh trade.
Silver subverts her identity and seeks to alter to body to please Mietek, and dismisses the dire warnings about her fate if this romance doesn’t work out as myth (a slick irony considering). Golden’s less carnal appetites cut a swath through Warsaw, alarming the police and the family with which the girls board. Meanwhile, the bouncy pop score plays, the screen comes alive with energetic choreography, and the actors warble about the sludge of despair and the pecking of ravens while engaging in a bout of materialism or grinding on stage.
Unsettling and oneiric, THE LURE is a film of black humor, grungy debauchery, and ravishingly surreal eroticism done with an idiom that blends high camp with unexpected pathos . In it love is a dangerous game for everyone, innocence all but impossible to separate from hard-wired primal instincts, and men are never quite as safe as they arrogantly assume that they are.