February 29, 2004

Lana's Rain

Yesterday I saw the film Lana's Rain at the Music Box Theatre. It's an independent film, written and directed by Michael Ojeda, with Oksana Orlenko and Nikolai Stoilov playing the main characters, siblings Lana and Darko Lucev. This weekend was its opening; apparently the plan is for the film next to go to Los Angeles.

The film is somewhat impressive for what it manages on a small budget, the acting is quite good, and visually it was beautiful. The writing, on the other hand, was inadequate, and the plot had too many contrived elements. The film opens in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Darko is a crime lord. His sister Lana turns to him for help when she has no family left. He is fleeing from rival criminals. They come to Chicago, where Lana has great hopes for life in America, but Darko forces her into prostitution.

The early parts of the film are done fairly well, but the plot rapidly gets out of control. A United Nations team is sent to recover Darko; the idea of a UN SWAT team running around Chicago seems comical, and one interrogation scene was very over-the-top. A potentially interesting side plot involving a sculptor who helps Lana should have been either developed more or cut, in my opinion. The film's ending, despite seeming to please the crowd, was very contrived. In general, the story lost its believability, and thus its power, maybe halfway through the film.

Still, it was a visually impressive film (with many interesting shots of Chicago), and more worth seeing than much of what I have watched in the past year. (Freddy vs. Jason notwithstanding, of course.)

Posted by Matt at February 29, 2004 09:59 PM

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