Martha Marcy May Marlene | Gamerillaz

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Cults get a bad name. As long as you steer clear of the brainwashing, embezzlement and foetus stabbing I dont see what the problem is. If you read the Daily Mail or exclusively use electronic i-gadgets incubated in the fevered robot mind of the late Steve Jobs then you’re a member of a cult. Sort of. I myself am a  member of the Path of The Rising Amber Simian and we meet once a week for a chicken sacrifice and a bit of an orgy. Admittedly I’m the only member of the cult so far but I hope others will join soon (if only for the free chicken) Having a one-man orgy is hard work… thank god for baby oil and rubber tubing. But I digress…and I’m probably not doing much to allay the popular (and correct) assumption that cult members are stupid stupid people. What about the tortuously monickered Martha Marcy May Marlene? A microbudget little cult-member-in-rehab flick which received rave reviews on the back of early showings on the festival circuit, it’s a strange little pic starring the younger sibling of the apparently famous Olson sisters (no, me neither). She actually turns in an excellent and nuanced debut performance but the surrounding film itself is a flat and unrewarding affair.

MMMM flees a peculiar David Koresh style rural commune and shows up on her wealthy sisters doorstep. The ensuing 80 minutes or so consist of M4 being unpredictable and socially awkward as she struggles with her past of  patriarchal rapefest and present of her achingly middle-class sister and her comparatively indulgent ways. Its not a very interesting conflict and very little actually happens. There’s lots of meaningful glances and loaded sentences but f**k me after an hour of uninterrupted Marmarmalene moping around being vaguely upset/irrational/in shock my mind began to wander to less worthy filmic fare crammed with cgi blood and gratuitious naked breasts (only joking! There’s no such thing as gratuitous breasts) There is a stabbing. Someone gets slapped. There’s some heated dialogue. And then the movie ends just as it looks like something might actually happen.

The ending’s proving  to be the main talking point…It’s ludicrously ambiguous and pretty much leaves the viewer stranded. It’s infuriating. It’s like looking down at the vinegar stroke after a protracted session of mediocre lovemaking and finding, not a willing woman, but a load of binbags stapled together and filled with cat hair. If you tend to wear polonecks and say “mmm, yes” a lot then you might be willing to do the heavy narrative lifting on 4M’s behalf but for the rest of us – the unwashed, simple hordes who like film narratives to adhere to coherent structures and repay the viewers attention and investment – well,  just watch Helter Skelter instead.

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