“We are all monsters.”

This pointed, yet brief line from the final moments of Jesse Harley’s Lure is one that that will resonate with its audience long after the credits have rolled.

Lure, which premiered on September 12 at the Atlantic Film Festival, tells the story of Rebecca Markowitz (Andrea Norwood). She is a post-graduate student, who is working on her doctoral thesis about indirect violence against women in a digital age. Having reached an impasse with her research, Rebecca tries desperately to get in touch with jailed internet stalker, Eric Daltry (Glen Matthews) whose actions in an online chatroom are believed to have led to the suicide of Bridget Spencer (Molly Dunsworth). Both stories parallel each other and as Rebecca becomes more engaged with Eric, the audience starts to see Bridget’s story play out as well. The cast is rounded out by Richard Donat who plays Bridget’s grandfather Marshall Spencer, John Dunsworth as Rebecca’s supervisor Professor Reynolds and Hugh Thompson as a prison Warden.

Lure is a film that superbly uses many different, interconnected themes to tell a multi-faceted story. Initially it appears to be about desperation. Bridget seemed desperate to find someone to understand her, Rebecca is desperate to understand the motive behind Eric’s actions and Marshall is desperate to find justice for his granddaughter. This assumption is wrong. Instead the story shifts from desperation to release and revenge and eventually ends with personal redemption. These themes, which change so subtly you might not even notice them, are seemingly connected together by larger theme: power and influence. In the story you see characters whose decisions are swayed by others who prey on these other feelings, like revenge. The influencer then uses this influence for their own personal gain. In that sense, I find the film suggests that we all have the capability to be monsters, as pointed out by the line above. We can all have power over another person’s decisions, but how we choose to use this power defines how much of a monster we really are.

In having all of these themes blend together, I found the film’s ending to be that much harder to figure out, in that when I thought a character would do one thing, they did something else. When I thought I had a character’s personality figured out, they would completely change who they are. This of course can not only be attributed to great writing, but the actors and how were expertly able to hide these little bits and pieces of their characters’ personalities.

Along with this, Lure is a film that lives up to its name and draws you into the story. I often felt I was a silent observer in interview room with Rebecca. I found myself jumping back when she did or leaning in with anticipation, as she starts to ask some hard hitting questions. While the Bridget side of the story doesn’t seem to draw you in as much, it does provide a necessary context that helps round out the plot.

Overall Lure is a great film that you’ll want to watch again, even if it’s just to pinpoint when the theme changes.

Ranking: Four out of five lobsters

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, Andrea Norwood’s name was wrong in an earlier version of this post. The information above is correct. Halifax Magazine regrets the error.

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