Lana's Rain

Michael S. Ojeda's Lana's Rain suffers from a little too much melodrama. In trying to create a sense of peril and emotion, first time writer/director Ojeda loaded up his film with so many unbelievable elements that it collapses under the weight of its ridiculousness. The general plot is about the violent and sadistic disintegration of the relationship between two siblings played out against a backdrop of the immigrant experience in Chicago. Lana (Oxana Orlenko) and Darko (Nickolai Stoilov, Bird of Prey, Prescription for Murder) immigrate illegally from war-torn Bosnia. There, Lana found Darko years after the two lost touch. It is not too clear what Darko does there, but it is certainly not good. He is escaping from something in Bosnia, and tells Lana that he can take her with him.

One of the main reasons why Lana's Rain ends up the way it does is because the Lana character is such an idiot. Everyone can see that Darko is an unsavory character. She just sees her long-lost brother. This is understandable in the beginning, but by the middle of the film it's a joke. First, all of their money goes missing shortly after they arrive in Chicago. Darko convinces an extremely reluctant Lana to prostitute herself for cash. He assures her that it's only for a month, and that he has a job lined up shortly thereafter. The first time is especially traumatic for Lana, who is rescued by Julian (Luoyoung Wang, Rollerball, Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl), a local artist.

Julian wants to help Lana, but she is too afraid. And the two continually seem to bump into each other as the months pass. She cannot speak much English, and still retains a sense of loyalty to her brother. She wants to learn English, but Darko stands in the way of every attempt she has to learn. Soon, he's collected a few other women and is running a prostitution ring. He frivolously spends their precious money. Yet Lana still threatens to leave, then will back off at the last minute. Their relationship is nonexistent, but Lana stays because she has no one else to turn to and is not willing to go off on her own.

Soon the viewer learns that Darko is a Bosnian warlord accused of war crimes. His rivals as well as the government is after him, and Lana's Rain turns into a bad action movie. It's made worse by the fact that Stoilov wears an eye patch for no real reason. His American dream is buying a trailer. While most of the actors fare relatively well, Stoilov overacts way too much. This is a real shame, since Ojeda started with a good idea, that almost instantly went awry. Lana's desire to find a sense of normalcy to her life is appealing, and when she isn't acting moronic she is actually a very sympathetic and decent character. The crux of Lana's Rain relies on the viewer believing that despite all of the setbacks Darko puts before Lana, her love for her brother is greater than her common sense. It doesn't happen.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 47 minutes, Rated R for sex and violence.

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