Set in the Adriatic Sea, Murina follows a young teenage girl named Julija (Gracija Filipovic), who lives with her mother and father. We quickly understand that Julija’s father is quite controlling and even has bursts of abusive moments toward her. We also learn that Julija desires a life of freedom and change as she is continually put down and controlled. She is even forced to do things that don’t interest her.
Her father has invited a wealthy foreign friend named Javier (Cliff Curtis) for a weekend holiday trip, and the two will discuss a major business opportunity that could change Julija’s lifestyle. Will this guest make things among the family better or worse? Julija discovers that Javier seems to be interested in her mother, and the two once had a romantic past. Julija begins to encourage her mother and Javier to pursue something further as it would result in greater happiness for Julija.
Murina is best described as a drama film with unexpected moments, and, at times, it can be a little tense. I love how this film introduces Julija’s current lifestyle, including her upbringing with her parents and the wonderful views around her because she’s living on an island. As a character, I found Juija highly convincing, and her actions as a teenager dealing with multiple challenges felt realistic and true. The film is highly unpredictable at various times. I honestly didn’t know which direction the main story would go or the outcomes for our leads, including Julija, who tries to be shy, sneaky, and persuasive in various ways to benefit herself and her family.
Visually, Murina is wonderful to look at. Each shot is stunning to experience, including the location, which consists of beautiful scenery, landscapes and even various underwater shots that are clear and pleasing. Dramatic moments are filled with tension and mystery, captured with perfection. I felt tense at various moments for no reason other than I had no idea what would happen next. The performances are fantastic, with actress Gracija Filipovic as Julija bringing something highly enjoyable and powerful. The supporting performance from Cliff Curtis is likeable, charming, and mysterious, leaving viewers questioning his true motives throughout the feature.
Pacing is pleasing for the vast majority. I found myself highly engaged with the introduction and felt invested in wanting to know what the outcome for our leading character would be. Will she ever find peace or freedom? Will she stand up against her father? By the third act and finale, I felt highly satisfied with the journey this film took me on. Director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic deserves credit for delivering such awesome details to the screen and bringing such a touching story to life.
Overall, this is an outstanding drama film. It’s filled with real and highly believable performances that are both heartbreaking and dramatic, and the outcomes of each character in this story are highly unpredictable and satisfying. Visually, this film can’t be faulted, and it captures tense moments, stunning landscapes and sceneries wonderfully. It’s a film that didn’t take me long to get invested in, and the outcomes are rewarding and impressive. As a directional debut from Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, I’m proud to highly praise this film as it leaves a powerful impact on those who experience it.