Martha Marcy May Marlene

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(2011) ★★★

Film4: Thursday 14 May, 1.15am

Elizabeth Olsen is damaged goods after wandering off from a backwoods cult run by scrawny, softly spoken bully John Hawkes. Turning into sinister 1940s character actor John Carradine before our eyes, Hawkes is a guitar-strumming proponent of ‘free sex’, i.e. orgies and rape. Completely in the dark, Sarah Paulson senses something is seriously amiss with her secretive younger sister. Especially when she lets slips weirdo, weak-minded pronouncements: “I am a teacher and a leader.” Memories of Manson and Jonestown in a drily detached psycho-drama that could have used a bit more Helter Skelter. Framed and scored like a thriller, although there’s nothing very thrilling going on. The funny thing is that Sean Durkin’s script, despite the title, tells us everything about John Hawkes’ character and virtually nothing about Olsen’s.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 102min

IMDB – Martha Marcy May Marlene

TMDB – Martha Marcy May Marlene

Rotten Tomatoes – Martha Marcy May Marlene