Martha Marcy May Marlene
Dir.: Sean Durkin | USA 2010 | 103 min
Sean Durkin shows that there is new hope for the American indie film with his debut, the impressively well-orchestrated psychological thriller 'Martha Marcy May Marlene', which took the critics by storm at the premiere at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Elisabeth Olsen, who is the younger sister of the twin child stars Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, plays the role of Martha, who throughout the film takes on all the names of the title as a thin metaphor for her schizophrenia. She has run away from home and lived with a hippie cult, which among other things demands that all members make themselves sexually available to the charismatic leader (eminently played by John Hawkes). After finally gathering the courage to flee, she seeks refuge with her older sister, Lucy, who long ago - on the surface at least - has freed herself from the past and now subscribes to a strict view of what's normal, and doesn't like being challenged in her rigid views. Martha's sudden arrival therefore puts a spanner in the works for her, and as Martha is neither capable or willing to acknowledge what has happened, the tension mounts between the sisters. The story is stylishly told in a series of more or less chronological flashbacks, which gradually unfold Martha's tormented past, and where the boundaries between reality and aberration slowly fade.