Martha Marcy May Marlene – 7.5/10.



5633_2A troubled young woman escapes from a cult. Spends lots of time looking into the middle distance.

When this film began and within minutes main character Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) was almost immediately psychologically and sexually abused I sighed and braced myself for yet another unnecessarily gruelling film showing nasty and ‘gritty’ violence towards women dressed up as art. I was pleasantly surprised by the end to find MMMM a well acted character study about paranoia, bullying and how some people use psychological manipulation to control the weak and unhappy. Elizabeth Olsen is a revelation here. Totally believable in what must have been a pretty tough role. She recently starred in Godzilla and is going to be a feature of the Marvel universe in the future too so keep an eye out. Hugh Dancy is just as creepy as he is in Hannibal although I’m not so sure he is meant to be and he kind of sticks out here. Eastbound and Downs John Hawkes is a world away from Kenny Powers redneck older brother. He is intimidating and dominant throughout as cult leader Patrick. This film would make a nice companion piece to fellow cult film Sound Of My Voice but most of all it is worth watching for Olsen’s haunting performance.

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