Saturday, February 13, 2016

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

I just saw this little thriller - if that's what you could call it - the other day and decided to blog about it. The film received with good reviews here in Finland and, I believe, elsewhere in Europe as well, but I don't know how largely it was seen in the US. (Wikipedia says it had a limited release, but it's out on DVD and possibly available on Netflix and other venues.)

The film has a quirky title, but you shouldn't worry about that, since it's a pretty well done drama of a young woman, Martha (played by Elizabeth Olsen), who's gotten herself mixed up with a sect leading a reclusive life somewhere in the mountains. John Hawkes plays the leader of the sect with charisma. He's not given any background, so the viewer will have to fill up the blank spaces him/herself. The leader looks and feels interesting, yet he's there only to satisfy his own sexual needs: he gets to have sex with all the newcomers. He tells the women the act of sex starts the purifying process. The young woman can't take the abuse anymore and takes a hike. She hides herself in her sister's house, but she can't leave the past behind her. The sister and her husband seem helpless and don't really know what to do, and Martha won't tell them what has really happened in the two years she was away.

Directed by debutante Sean Durkin, this is a quietly disturbing thriller with almost no scary moments. The ending is very disturbing. Highly recommended, though not for those who seek fast action and thrills.


Todd Mason said...

It has gained most of it's US audience due to cable television play. Rather well done.

jurinummelin said...

Good to hear it made to cable!

Todd Mason said...

Olsen and other aspects make it welcome there, and that it's good doen'y hurt the programmers' feelings, either. It isn't quite Manson Family, but close.