Thursday, October 27, 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene in 350 Words or Less


Where the hell did writer/director Sean Durkin come from and how did he manage to make a movie this phenomenal right outta the gate? I feel terrible for him, because good god he's got a whole career in front of him and he's got to live up to this potential! Seriously though, Martha Marcy May Marlene is a miracle of screenwriting and direction and above all glorious restraint. I could go on and on about the precise little steps the story takes in doling out, and not doling out, information, or the way the lovely camerawork always seems to be sinking forward as if we're being sucked into an abyss, or the way the background's focus is always fuzzy but not really in a dreamy way, more like a concussion, more like the world beyond the immediate senses is closed off and unreachable, or the way it clicks together piece after piece until the puzzle we're staring at in the very end is simultaneously incompressible and horribly fathomable, to but I don't want to spoil anything for anybody where this wonderful movie's concerned. See this movie.

A couple of notes on the performances - Elizabeth Olsen's great and deserves all the kudos she's gotten. I'll be curious to see what other kinds of performances she's got in her because this one felt so natural I do wonder how much of this girl is her (hopefully not the crazy part), but she's got a great face that reads really well in close-up. As for John Hawkes, about halfway through the film I thought to myself how lucky we are that we live in a time where John Hawkes gets to act and we get to watch him act. I find him completely and totally mesmerizing on-screen. And a very special shout-out to Maria Dizzia who plays Katie, because I worry her work as one of the elder ladies on the farm will never get the recognition is deserves - I believed every single second of her performance. Which means, uh, no offense, but I really hope I never meet you, lady.

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