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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Martha Marcy Is Well-Done Filmmaking, but for the best film about cults...

Before going to Martha Marcy May Marlene, I thought I would be seeing a film similar the powerful early '80s sleeper called Ticket to Heaven. (Rent it if you haven't seen it.) And in a couple ways - the power of the cult leader, trying to bring the person out of the spell - it was similar. But in many ways it wasn't.   Where Ticket to Heaven shows the whole gut-wrenching process of the person being consumed by the cult, Marcy May starts with her (the phenomenal Elizabeth Olsen) already well in. The film then goes back and forth between those scenes and the scenes after her sister picks up her up, with the sister and her husband (the suddenly ubiquitous Hugh Dancy) in a fancy lake house. The film is very well-done and feels pretty true, except for perhaps the one violent scene. There's tension just oozing out of all pores of this film, including of the sexual variety. I can't say it's a great film; it chooses an ending similar to Cache, Michael Haneke's film with Juliette Binoche. But I can recommend it as interesting and worthwhile. Don't forget Ticket to Heaven.  That's the one that will stay with you.

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