Murina (2021)


In Croatia, a teenage girl (Gracija Filipovic) suffers her rigid, controlling father (Leon Lucev) until one of his old friends (Once Were Warriors‘ Cliff Curtis) visits and inspires her to seek a better life. At first, she tries to negotiate leaving Croatia with her father’s friend. But the girl’s plans soon unravel, with her father taking more desperate measures to keep her with the family.

Writer/director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic delivers gorgeous cinematography at locations both on and under the Adriatic Sea, and for a while it’s refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t spoon-feed its narrative. Kusijanovic and cowriter Frank Graziano never put a fine point on exactly what is going on in the characters’ minds. An unspoken tension grows between the girl and her family as Murina indicates it’s taking us on a ‘slow burn’ type of psychological thriller. Involved viewers will wonder. Uninvolved ones will get bored. As much as I admire the growing tension, fine acting, and gorgeous vistas, the slow burn doesn’t quite pay off. A more visceral, shocking, or emotional ending would make the film more interesting and memorable.

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