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T Sean Durkin

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  • Martha Marcy May Marlene [DVD] Martha Marcy May Marlene | DVD | (03/06/2013) from £4.95  |  Saving you £13.20 (66.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Martha Marcy May Marlene creates a sense of uneasy suspense within seconds of coming on screen: a young woman, who will be known by all the title names at various times in the movie, is escaping from a rural commune of some sort. And not just a commune, but by the looks of it, a cult--an impression that will grow as Martha flashes back to her experiences once she reaches the safety of her sister's antiseptic country place. It is part of director Sean Durkin's design that we experience the film as Martha's point of view, which means there may be some question about whether she's an emotionally unstable person to begin with or simply in a legitimate terror about the traumatising events that have unfolded for her in recent months. Although the film has one storytelling contrivance (Martha withholds her experiences from her sister, when a little exposition would help matters tremendously), in general Durkin keeps a lid on this simmering situation, and he's got a good compositional eye that only occasionally tips over into preciousness. Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy play Martha's complacent but concerned sister and brother-in-law, and John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) is a spellbinder as the commune leader, a manipulator of subtle skill. (With some stories like this, you have a hard time believing cult followers could fall for these creepy charismatics; in this one, Hawkes demonstrates how such things might happen.) The movie's most unexpected and alluring touch is the performance by Elizabeth Olsen, as Martha; this younger sister of the child-star Olsen twins brings a zonked-out centre of gravity to the part. She's got just a bit of blankness, too, which enhances the movie's well-wrought guessing game. --Robert Horton

  • Martha Marcy May Marlene [Blu-ray] Martha Marcy May Marlene | Blu Ray | (03/06/2013) from £7.45  |  Saving you £17.12 (68.50%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Martha Marcy May Marlene creates a sense of uneasy suspense within seconds of coming on screen: a young woman, who will be known by all the title names at various times in the movie, is escaping from a rural commune of some sort. And not just a commune, but by the looks of it, a cult--an impression that will grow as Martha flashes back to her experiences once she reaches the safety of her sister's antiseptic country place. It is part of director Sean Durkin's design that we experience the film as Martha's point of view, which means there may be some question about whether she's an emotionally unstable person to begin with or simply in a legitimate terror about the traumatising events that have unfolded for her in recent months. Although the film has one storytelling contrivance (Martha withholds her experiences from her sister, when a little exposition would help matters tremendously), in general Durkin keeps a lid on this simmering situation, and he's got a good compositional eye that only occasionally tips over into preciousness. Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy play Martha's complacent but concerned sister and brother-in-law, and John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) is a spellbinder as the commune leader, a manipulator of subtle skill. (With some stories like this, you have a hard time believing cult followers could fall for these creepy charismatics; in this one, Hawkes demonstrates how such things might happen.) The movie's most unexpected and alluring touch is the performance by Elizabeth Olsen, as Martha; this younger sister of the child-star Olsen twins brings a zonked-out centre of gravity to the part. She's got just a bit of blankness, too, which enhances the movie's well-wrought guessing game. --Robert Horton

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