Spooky, by an­other name

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - 4 Eguide Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing State Cinema

WHAT’S in a name? Not much. What’s in four names? Much more than you bar­gained for.

So it goes for Martha Marcy May Mar­lene, an an­gu­lar and in­tense psy­cho­log­i­cal drama about a young woman re- en­ter­ing the real world af­ter some con­sid­er­able time spent in an un­real world.

Where has she been ex­actly? It’s hard to say. You’d prob­a­bly de­scribe the coun­try com­mune where she has wasted the past few years as a base for one of those scary mind- con­trol cults.

Re- ac­cli­ma­tis­ing to nor­mal­ity is go­ing to be tough for Martha ( played by El­iz­a­beth Olsen). Per­haps even im­pos­si­ble.

The one per­son she knows ‘‘ on the out­side’’, her older sis­ter ( Sarah Paul­son, both pic­tured), is now a com­plete stranger, pre- oc­cu­pied by a self­ish new hus­band ( Hugh Dancy) and his ma­te­ri­al­is­tic val­ues.

The film gets down­right spooky when Martha re­treats in­side her head to re­call the hor­ror of her time at the com­mune, and her abuse at the hands of its creepy, Charles Man­son- like leader ( John Hawkes).

If pushed, you could call Martha Marcy May Mar­lene a dis­tant com­pan­ion piece to the re­cent daz­zling downer that was We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Though not as archly cyn­i­cal in its world view as that film, Martha Marcy shares the same so­phis­ti­cated sto­ry­telling tech­niques ( the ju­di­cious use of flash­backs is par­tic­u­larly mas­ter­ful).

Just as im­por­tantly, the mes­meris­ing per­for­mance of Olsen is ev­ery bit as haunt­ing as that of Tilda Swin­ton in Kevin.

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