The Lease

The Lease


Reviewed by: Claire Sawers

There is just too much guess work required for this film. Sparse dialogue, minimal direction and a deliberately enigmatic female lead make for a frustratingly limited piece, which borders on plain confusing at times.

The heroine, who remains nameless throughout, is a silent, violent type. She drives around aimlessly in her car, avoiding others as much as possible, all the while carrying a gun hidden in her handbag. She has recently left her husband, whom she describes as "a monster," and is trying to start life afresh by moving into a new apartment.

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Solitary and reclusive, she is drawn out from the shell she has crawled into by her new landlord, a sleazy but charming man. They begin a relationship and for a while it seems that she may be ready to put the trauma and unhappiness of her past, whatever that may have been, behind her.

Before she has time to feel comfortable with her new lover, he ends their affair brutally, telling her simply that "the lease is over". Already broken in spirit, how will she react to this latest rejection?

In every scene involving the heroine, whether she is straining a smile for a family birthday party or looking into the eyes of her new lover, there is pain and unhappiness written all over her face. Despite a strong performance from Larisa Kalpokaite, all sad eyes and glossy brown hair, it is difficult to become emotionally involved in the plot, as there is too little information given on the characters, the events of the past and, in some cases, the goings-on in the present.

Firstly, we know almost nothing about the central character's history. In the one scene, where the "monster" husband is glimpsed briefly, he is in bed with the woman's 23-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. It seems like a straightforward case of evil, lecherous husband, until the daughter begins confiding to him that her mother had rejected her.

Further evidence of the woman's far-from-flawless character crops up when her sister and nephew describe her as "nuts" and "a little crazy". Just where things could get intriguing and we begin to edge slightly forward on our seats, we are faced with yet more very long, very lingering, presumably meaningful shots of motorways and graffiti-sprayed building sites.

Underdeveloped and too slow paced for a thriller, this might have been a poignant portrait of a tragic woman's search for happiness, if only we were allowed to discover a little more about what made her run.

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2007
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A divorced Lithuanian woman leases an apartment and is miserable.

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Gator MacReady *

Director: Kristijonas Vildziunas

Writer: Kristijonas Vildziunas

Starring: Larisa Kalpokaite, Dalia Micheleviciute, Tomas Tamosaitis, Gintaras Liutkevicius, Laisvunas Raudonis, Asta Baukuté, Laisvunas Raudonis, Eglé Mikulionyté

Year: 2002

Runtime: 78 minutes

Country: Lithuania


EIFF 2003

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