Sunday, November 20, 2011


Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) - Durkin
First thing you notice in this film is its intentionally underexposed cinematography. It sets the tone and never lets up from beginning to end. The second thing you notice is Elizabeth Olsen's face. The crushed black, shallow depth of field and soft edges accentuate her ethereal beauty. She is in almost every frame of the film. Martha Marcy May Marlene concerns a young woman named Martha who runs away from what seems to be a communal farm house, mainly consists of young men and women, headed by charismatic Patrick (John Hawkes, channeling Charles Manson without the hippie bullshit). She calls her estranged older sister and spends the rest of the film with her and her yuppie husband in their lake front Summer house in Connecticut. Martha seems ok at first but as she remembers what she just left behind, she gets increasingly paranoid and anti-social.

Martha Marcy is not explicitly about a Manson type cult, nor it's about relationship between two sisters. It's all about dread a young woman feels after a traumatic experience. It's slick and accomplished filmmaking and has plenty of good acting and tension. But it fails to have any kind of impact on either emotional or cerebral level.

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