MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (written & directed by Sean Durkin)
I’ve had this disc just lying around the house for months. Should have watched it months (probably years) ago.
Strong stuff, well crafted. One of those movies that would probably never be referred to as a horror film but, to my mind, is absolutely a horror a film and the best kind, at that.
It is troubling and questioning. It steps deftly around story decisions that a less intelligent film would step right into. For example: I was fearing that the sister’s husband would turn out be a rapist or somehow overtly scumbag-ish. But he never did - instead the film keeps him sympathetic, maybe a little douchey, but never cartoonish.
Also it is a Manson movie, though it never announces itself as such. And that, to me, is fascinating. By removing the sensational “based on a true story!” proclamations and pitfalls that would, inevitably, come with making it about Manson himself, the movie frees itself to explore the incident in a deeper, and more satisfying way.
Probably the best Manson movie I’ve seen.
And I’d say it’s about a thousand times better than the last movie about a cult I watched (it shall remain nameless here but suffice it to say that I hated it, vociferously).
John Hawkes makes a surprisingly convincing Manson stand-in. Obviously, Elizabeth Olsen is the stand out here, but Hawkes has more than a few fantastic moments of his own. My favorite: in the bathroom after the murder. He goes from threatening to spewing nonsense philosophy about death. Hawkes delivers his speech in such a way that it seems both like he’s making it up on the spot and that he completely believes.