‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ Blu-ray [Review]
Martha Marcy May Marlene made big waves at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival with its director Sean Durkin, in his feature film debut, won “Best Director.” It also got a lot of deserved attention for its star Elizabeth Olsen, and it is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
The film follows a young woman, Martha (Olsen), who tries to settle back into normal life with her sister and her husband after escaping from a cult. However, memories of her time there make it hard for her to move on, even triggering some sort of paranoia.
If you haven’t seen this film yet, you are in for a treat. Martha Marcy May Marlene (trust me you’ll get the hang of this title once you see the film and associate the names with something) is very well constructed with scenes from Martha’s time in the cult mixed in with her present time at home. You see moments happening to her now which remind her of something that happened there as we start understanding what a brainwashing experience her time with the cult was and even though she did escape, adapting to “normal” life is not as easy as it sounds.
Elizabeth Olsen deserves all the praise she has gotten for this role. There is such a powerful quietness to her that fit the character of Martha perfectly. The cast is also rounded off with great supporting actors including John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, American Gangster), Sarah Paulson, (Down With Love, What Women Want) and Hugh Dancy (Our Idiot Brother, Adam).
And I need to praise director/writer Sean Durkin for creating such a palpable world that can be frightening at times. I am honestly looking forward to what he and the rest of the trio Antonio Campos and Josh Mond at Borderline Films come up with.
The film alone is worth getting your hands on this Blu-ray, but it also comes with some fun extra features:
Mary Last Seen short film – A short film that is sort of a prequel to Martha Marcy May Marlene exploring how the cult at the center of Martha Marcy May Marlene recruits its member. It’s really worth seeing and is as haunting as Martha Marcy May Marlene even though it’s only 15 minutes.
Spotlight on Elizabeth Olsen – Find out more about the girl behind Martha.
The Making of Martha Marcy May Marlene – A short behind the scenes features on the making of the film. I also enjoy these, so it was fun to watch.
A Conversation with Filmmakers – The filmmakers discuss the film and their process. Another interesting feature.
The Psyche of a Cult – This is a short feature in which a cult specialist talks about some of the psychology of cults and how they are ported in the film. Another interesting feature.
“Marcy’s Song” Music Video by John Hawkes – John Hawkes singing the song his character sings in the film. If you enjoyed it in the film, you get to listen to the full version.