Deliberate in pace and haunting in nature, Martha Marcy May Marlene
is a dreamlike character study of a former cultist’s reintroduction to society and her attempts to understand her place in the world. Elizabeth Olsen gives a stunning performance in the lead role -- no small feat given that the film frequently moves from the present day to flashbacks and back again. At the helm, first-time filmmaker T. Sean Durkin commands the proceedings with a calculation that continues to impress long after the credits roll. Dread lies in the pores of each frame, promising that no good will come out of the situation.
The film opens with shots of a seemingly normal ...