Martha marcy may marlene - AVS Forum
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Writing\\directing feature debut of Sean Durkin, this indie suspense drama film was a big favorite at this past Sundance. Stars Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of the Olsen twins), Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, and Hugh Dancy.

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Old 10-22-2011, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Review: http://www.indiewire.com/article/rev...y_may_marlene/
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:23 AM
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Sarah Paulson just was on Craig Furguson 's Late Late nite Show this week .

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Old 10-24-2011, 12:13 PM
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Well, damn, I thought I was seeing this next week as it's playing at a film festival, but you have to be a member of this film club to watch it... $60. Screw that.
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Old 11-19-2011, 09:27 AM
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Didn't know squat about this film but saw it yesterday anyway. Slooooooowwwww burner. Wasn't sure what everything was leading up to the whole time. When the 3rd act came I expected it to turn into a but that was not the case.

It's this year's Winter's Bone. Pretty good and fine job by Olsen. Cult life looks too boring for me.


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Old 11-19-2011, 02:45 PM
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Trailer interests....will rent the BD.

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Old 03-21-2012, 10:39 AM
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Watched this one last nite....what a dynamite little movie!
The girl (who reminds me a lot of Maggie Gyllenhaal) was terrific and worthy of the praise.

This movie gave me the distinct feeling I was watching a lost Bergman film...
Sean Durkin is someone to keep an eye on.

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Old 03-21-2012, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by oink View Post

watched this one last nite....what a dynamite little movie!
The girl (who reminds me a lot of maggie gyllenhaal) was terrific and worthy of the praise.

This movie gave me the distinct feeling i was watching a lost bergman film...
Sean durkin is someone to keep an eye on.

+1

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Old 03-21-2012, 08:31 PM
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Not an easy film to watch. I enjoyed john hawkes' character as Patrick, as he was also very good in winter bones. Olsen is excellent, better than her siblings.

It is too bad that not too many will go for this one due to the oppressive subject. PQ wise, it really made the movie even more depressing. There were also lots of soft focus camera work which I found distracting.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:49 PM
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Not an easy film to watch. I enjoyed john hawkes' character as Patrick, as he was also very good in winter bones. Olsen is excellent, better than her siblings.

It is too bad that not too many will go for this one due to the oppressive subject. PQ wise, it really made the movie even more depressing. There were also lots of soft focus camera work which I found distracting.

Agree 100%, you hit it right on the nail-head.

BTW, the BD PQ was awful in every way.

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Old 03-31-2012, 01:53 PM
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This really felt like half a movie. John Hawkes was amazing, but his screen time was too limited. While we did spend some time with him, we only saw brief glimpses of where he got and retained his power over the group, only how he wielded that power. To me, that would have been the most interesting theme of the movie, but it wasn't central at all.

Instead, we spend a lot of time with Martha. But through the movie she remains a shell of a woman. Then, there's her sister.
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Neither of these characters feel like fully developed characters. There's a rift between them that neither seems really interested in mending, even if it could be.

Ted comes off as the most sensible, even if he's portrayed as a harsh outsider to the family. At least he expresses some practical concern and realizes that Martha needs some serious help. Without him, the two women would be left adrift.

We see the damage to Martha, have some insight as to how it happened, but her fate is left totally unresolved. Why should we care, when the movie doesn't seem to?

This could have been a strong and powerful movie, examining the relationship between power, love, family, individualism, and violence, but it doesn't really embrace any of it or offer any real commentary or perspective on any of those themes.

While the inter-cutting of different time periods was well done, and helped elevate the movie, without resolution it ultimately felt more like a gimmick. In the end, we get a slight character examination with few clues or insight, and then it ends, unsatisfactorily.

Scott

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Old 03-31-2012, 02:03 PM
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Watching this one tonight.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by srw1000 View Post

Instead, we spend a lot of time with Martha. But through the movie she remains a shell of a woman.

I think that is the POINT of the movie: she is a broken, fragile shell of a person, a victim of her own inadequacies.

I agree with this part of your spoiler:
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There's a rift between them that neither seems really interested in mending, even if it could be.

Ted comes off as the most sensible, even if he's portrayed as a harsh outsider to the family. At least he expresses some practical concern and realizes that Martha needs some serious help. Without him, the two women would be left adrift.


More than anything else, this is a character study in a bleak setting, under a bleak set of circumstances and I enjoyed it as such.
As I said, it reminds me of some of Bergman's stuff.

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Old 03-31-2012, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by oink View Post

I think that is the POINT of the movie: she is a broken, fragile shell of a person, a victim of her own inadequacies.

You may be right. But, if that's the case, why should we care?
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
We don't learn much about her, we see her act in the present without being able to understand her motivations, other than the obvious fact that she's broken.

We don't find out what drove her there, or what formed her. She remains a shell throughout the movie, displaying no growth or spark of life. Had there been some progress, or even understanding displayed, my feelings would have been different. But how does one relate or care about what is, fundamentally, an automaton?


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I agree with this part of your spoiler:
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There's a rift between them that neither seems really interested in mending, even if it could be.

Ted comes off as the most sensible, even if he's portrayed as a harsh outsider to the family. At least he expresses some practical concern and realizes that Martha needs some serious help. Without him, the two women would be left adrift.


More than anything else, this is a character study in a bleak setting, under a bleak set of circumstances and I enjoyed it as such.
As I said, it reminds me of some of Bergman's stuff.

I'll grant you that it's a character study, but a rather shallow one. In the meantime, the most interesting and compelling character is mostly left on the sidelines.

Wouldn't it have been more interesting and satisfying to spend more time with Patrick to see where his power came from, and how it changed Martha? We get glimpses and hints about it, but not enough to create a satisfactory story.

Scott

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by srw1000 View Post

You may be right. But, if that's the case, why should we care?
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
We don't learn much about her, we see her act in the present without being able to understand her motivations, other than the obvious fact that she's broken.

We don't find out what drove her there, or what formed her. She remains a shell throughout the movie, displaying no growth or spark of life. Had there been some progress, or even understanding displayed, my feelings would have been different. But how does one relate or care about what is, fundamentally, an automaton?


I'll grant you that it's a character study, but a rather shallow one. In the meantime, the most interesting and compelling character is mostly left on the sidelines.

Wouldn't it have been more interesting and satisfying to spend more time with Patrick to see where his power came from, and how it changed Martha? We get glimpses and hints about it, but not enough to create a satisfactory story.

Scott

As for Patrick, I wasn't really interested in his "power."
Those guys are Nothings, they have nothing if not for the very weak people around them who will obey.
Pull him out of that PARTICULAR situation and what do ya got?
That's right....Nothing.

It's the followers who are interesting (IMO).
How many times have we heard about these types of groups and asked "Why would anyone DO that?"

I wouldn't deny you have some valid points, but I was intrigued enough to stick thru it and see where it went.

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Old 03-31-2012, 07:12 PM
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I'll get into this movie tomorrow, but what was with the ending?
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:59 AM
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I'll get into this movie tomorrow, but what was with the ending?

I thought the ending was perfect.
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Is she and/or her sister and/or brother-in-law killed in a car wreck or pulled over and shot to death?
Is Patrick killed in a car wreck and her ordeal can now be over?
Is everyone or no one killed?
Is she pulled out of the car and brought back to the commune for life?

The movie leaves it up to the audience to decide what the fate of our girl is.

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Old 04-01-2012, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by wizzack View Post

Didn't know squat about this film but saw it yesterday anyway. Slooooooowwwww burner. Wasn't sure what everything was leading up to the whole time. When the 3rd act came I expected it to turn into a but that was not the case.

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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I, too, was waiting for a home invasion. It seemed like they were setting it up to make it happen.


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As for Patrick, I wasn't really interested in his "power."
Those guys are Nothings, they have nothing if not for the very weak people around them who will obey.
Pull him out of that PARTICULAR situation and what do ya got?
That's right....Nothing.

It's the followers who are interesting (IMO).
How many times have we heard about these types of groups and asked "Why would anyone DO that?"

+1

I thought Hawkes had plenty of screen time. I saw enough of him to know he was a powerless lowlife.

Interesting ideas on the ending, oink.

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At first I thought it was a car door slamming, then my wife said they ran into someone. You see him running back to his vehicle and then following them. I rewatched the final few minutes where Martha is swimming and sees someone on the bank of the lake. I did not think it was Patrick. This person was much bigger (broader) than Patrick and the facial hair was much more prominent. Even when he runs back to the car it didn't look like Patrick to me. If that was supposed to be Patrick, I didn't see the resemblance. To me he looked like Jonathan Frakes. In any case, I don't think the outcome was good for Martha.

I felt nothing for any of the characters. The only one who had any life or spirit was Hugh Dancy.

Hawkes is always good, so no surprise there. This was my first time seeing Olson - she was excellent. This was too slow for many on AVS and I have no desire to see it again, but it was okay.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

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I, too, was waiting for a home invasion. It seemed like they were setting it up to make it happen.

So did I, but I am glad they didn't do the obvious.


Quote:


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At first I thought it was a car door slamming, then my wife said they ran into someone. You see him running back to his vehicle and then following them. I rewatched the final few minutes where Martha is swimming and sees someone on the bank of the lake. I did not think it was Patrick. This person was much bigger (broader) than Patrick and the facial hair was much more prominent. Even when he runs back to the car it didn't look like Patrick to me. If that was supposed to be Patrick, I didn't see the resemblance. To me he looked like Jonathan Frakes. In any case, I don't think the outcome was good for Martha.

I agree.
It was obvious Martha recognized and was afraid of the guy, which had the purpose of foreboding (as it ties into the final scene).


Quote:


I felt nothing for any of the characters. This was my first time seeing Olson - she was excellent. This was too slow for many on AVS and I have no desire to see it again, but it was okay.

I agree, not for everyone.

Olson was superb IMO, but her character was not likeable by any stretch.
In fact, the movie is filled with unlikeable characters.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't make it thru a movie like this.
However, Olson's performance, coupled with a new filmmaker with potential, made the film compelling for me.

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Old 04-01-2012, 10:19 PM
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As for Patrick, I wasn't really interested in his "power."
Those guys are Nothings, they have nothing if not for the very weak people around them who will obey.
Pull him out of that PARTICULAR situation and what do ya got?
That's right....Nothing.

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I thought Hawkes had plenty of screen time. I saw enough of him to know he was a powerless lowlife.

You each had the same view of Patrick as some kind of impotent nobody?

Somehow, he was able to attract, retain, and control a group of people. Even if his followers were weaklings, it still take some kind of power to control them. After all, they have to have some reason for joining him in the first place, and allow him to be the king their world. Why were these different people so willing to follow him? Why was Martha?

That's part of what I thought was wrong with the movie. We never really see how Martha got drawn in. We see a little of how she was manipulated by the group, but the whole aspect of why we should care what happened to her was lacking.

As far as the ending, that was really what did the movie in for me.
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The movie was premised on her being an unreliable narrator, with the movie jumping between the past and present, some things real, others imagined. The ambiguous end doesn't leave the audience with any resolution. All the endings that Oink mentioned were possible, and there are myriad others. But why should we care? We saw no growth in her character, her sister was little more than a detached observer, and the brother-in-law was portrayed as unsympathetic.

Absent investment in the characters, one is left with the plot. Had they chosen to go with the home-invasion, survival storyline, there would have at least been some kind of resolution. Some may have seen it as a cop-out. After all, the film sets a tone of being above such contrivances. But in the end, it doesn't really have anything to say. This poor girl had some family issues, got involved with some bad people, struggled with escaping from that past and then. . . the end. She's still the same person we saw at the beginning of the movie.
The real person lacking power was the filmmaker.

Scott

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Old 04-01-2012, 11:42 PM
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You each had the same view of Patrick as some kind of impotent nobody?

Somehow, he was able to attract, retain, and control a group of people. Even if his followers were weaklings, it still take some kind of power to control them. After all, they have to have some reason for joining him in the first place, and allow him to be the king their world. Why were these different people so willing to follow him? Why was Martha?

He was able to do what he did because the female followers were SO WEAK.
These are not typical females...these are women SEVERELY beaten down, with absolutely ZERO self-esteem, ZERO confidence in themselves.
In some respects, toddlers in a vicious world of adults.


Quote:


That's part of what I thought was wrong with the movie. We never really see how Martha got drawn in. We see a little of how she was manipulated by the group

Two words: Weakness and Naiveté.


Quote:


the whole aspect of why we should care what happened to her was lacking.

The movie isn't asking us to care.
Basically, it's porn: it only wants TO SHOW.


Quote:


As far as the ending, that was really what did the movie in for me.
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The movie was premised on her being an unreliable narrator, with the movie jumping between the past and present, some things real, others imagined. The ambiguous end doesn't leave the audience with any resolution. All the endings that Oink mentioned were possible, and there are myriad others. But why should we care? We saw no growth in her character, her sister was little more than a detached observer, and the brother-in-law was portrayed as unsympathetic.

Absent investment in the characters, one is left with the plot. Had they chosen to go with the home-invasion, survival storyline, there would have at least been some kind of resolution. Some may have seen it as a cop-out. After all, the film sets a tone of being above such contrivances. But in the end, it doesn't really have anything to say. This poor girl had some family issues, got involved with some bad people, struggled with escaping from that past and then. . . the end. She's still the same person we saw at the beginning of the movie.

All valid criticisms, to which I can only say: this isn't your typical Hollywood yarn, much more reminescent of some of the European dramas of old than anything else.

You can either go with it, or not.
I did...and enjoyed the trip.
Naturally, YMMV.

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Old 04-02-2012, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by oink View Post

He was able to do what he did because the female followers were SO WEAK.
These are not typical females...these are women SEVERELY beaten down, with absolutely ZERO self-esteem, ZERO confidence in themselves.
In some respects, toddlers in a vicious world of adults.

Exactly. It takes very little power to control someone who lacks self-esteem, self worth, motivation, or suffers from feelings of inadequacy, the exact same qualities found in Patrick.

He was raping these women/girls. This was not sex out of love it was rape. Did you see the expression on Martha when this was happening? Love? Enjoyment? Hardly. Then we see the new women/girls go through the ‘prepping’ stage for their first evening with Patrick. Rape is a sign of weakness, indicating a need to exert power and control over someone else. It's about the desire for power and domination. Patrick couldn’t survive in the ‘real world’ because, whether it was consciously or subconsciously, he suffered from a severe lack of self-esteem and self worth – he felt powerless. He would have been imprisoned in the real world. So he started his own commune/cult where he could control those who felt worse about themselves than he did about himself. We’ve all heard and read about these cults throughout history. Patrick’s was a reflection of one of them.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:11 AM
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exactly. It takes very little power to control someone who lacks self-esteem, self worth, motivation, or suffers from feelings of inadequacy, the exact same qualities lacking in patrick.

He was raping these women/girls. This was not sex out of love it was rape. Did you see the expression on martha when this was happening? Love? Enjoyment? Hardly. Then we see the new girl/girls go through the prepping' stage for their first evening with patrick. Rape is a sign of weakness, indicating a need to exert power and control over someone else. It's about the desire for power and domination. Patrick couldn't survive in the real world' because, whether it was conscious or subconsciously, he suffered from a severe lack of self-esteem and self worth - he felt powerless. He would have ended up in prison. So he started his own commune/cult where he could control those who felt worse about themselves than he did about himself. We've all heard and read about these cults throughout history. Patrick's was a reflection of one of them.

+1

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Old 04-02-2012, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by oink View Post

He was able to do what he did because the female followers were SO WEAK.
These are not typical females...these are women SEVERELY beaten down, with absolutely ZERO self-esteem, ZERO confidence in themselves.
In some respects, toddlers in a vicious world of adults.

But some of those followers were men. Men who weren't beaten down, and seemed to take advantage of those same females. He had to also keep them in line, or risk being challenged for the leadership position.

To lump all of the women together in stereotypical roles doesn't help strengthen the film. And while they were all subservient to Patrick, there was also a power structure among their weakened caste. It's later in the movie where we see one of the women seizing power and acting out in a situation while Patrick watches. Was he in control at that point, or is it the beginning of the end?

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The movie isn't asking us to care.
Basically, it's porn: it only wants TO SHOW.

So the movie had no interest in engaging the audience to the point of caring or having empathy for the central character? Well, then I guess it was a success.

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All valid criticisms, to which I can only say: this isn't your typical Hollywood yarn, much more reminescent of some of the European dramas of old than anything else.

You can either go with it, or not.
I did...and enjoyed the trip.
Naturally, YMMV.

I don't hold anything against it for not being a typical Hollywood movie. Normally, that would probably give it some extra bonus points. What I was expecting was some kind of point or purpose.

I, too, enjoyed the ride. Until the wheels came flying off and we ended up stuck in a ditch only half mile down the road.

So, yes, YMMV.

Scott

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Old 04-02-2012, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

Exactly. It takes very little power to control someone who lacks self-esteem, self worth, motivation, or suffers from feelings of inadequacy, the exact same qualities found in Patrick.

I think it goes deeper than that, though. While they may all contribute to their susceptibility, no one person is immune. I remember listening to an expert on cults, and he stated that those most at risk were those that believed they could never be swayed into joining one.

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He was raping these women/girls. This was not sex out of love it was rape. Did you see the expression on Martha when this was happening? Love? Enjoyment? Hardly. Then we see the new women/girls go through the prepping' stage for their first evening with Patrick.

Yes, despicable and reprehensible behavior, yet unchallenged and completely accepted by the group. Welcomed and desired, even. A complete suppression of what we all know to be wrong.

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Rape is a sign of weakness, indicating a need to exert power and control over someone else. It's about the desire for power and domination.

Yes, that's all part of his character: Power creates the environment, and then feeds and grows off of the act. To dismiss him as weak ignores that he is still able to dominate the group, with his twisted and perverse ways being both accepted and even worshiped.

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Patrick couldn't survive in the real world' because, whether it was consciously or subconsciously, he suffered from a severe lack of self-esteem and self worth - he felt powerless. He would have been imprisoned in the real world.

Yet, he lives in the real world. Sure, they've staked out there own space within that world, but they still interface with locals. Presumably, there's a police presence that exists in that area. The group has also intruded on that outside world to get what they need, both monetary and new followers.


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So he started his own commune/cult where he could control those who felt worse about themselves than he did about himself. We've all heard and read about these cults throughout history. Patrick's was a reflection of one of them.

And that's why I felt we should have seen more of him. If it really were that simple to control someone who lacks self-esteem, self worth, motivation, or suffers from feelings of inadequacy, we should see tons of these cults, yet they remain rare.

It takes more than just a stronger weakling to control those below him. There's some combination of other factors that create the right kind of leader that can manipulate, control, and inspire others. Heck, it's hard enough for the average Joe to getting the weak-willed and unmotivated people to do their jobs in the workplace, much less give up everything that they believe in act in ways they would normally find morally reprehensible.

The movie places Patrick in that role. We see glimpses of how he exerts that power, and the society that he has set up. What's missing is how he worked that power on someone like Martha, who was affected by him, but we don't see why beyond the superficial. It's a crucial dimension to the film that's missing.

Scott

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Old 04-02-2012, 09:46 PM
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But some of those followers were men. Men who weren't beaten down, and seemed to take advantage of those same females. He had to also keep them in line, or risk being challenged for the leadership position.

Sure, they're there for the girls....


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To lump all of the women together in stereotypical roles doesn't help strengthen the film. And while they were all subservient to Patrick, there was also a power structure among their weakened caste.

Agreed.


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It's later in the movie where we see one of the women seizing power and acting out in a situation while Patrick watches. Was he in control at that point, or is it the beginning of the end?

My take was he condoned her behavior.


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So the movie had no interest in engaging the audience to the point of caring or having empathy for the central character? Well, then I guess it was a success.

If the goal of the filmmaker was for the audience to have empathy for the character, then this movie is a COMPLETE failure.
Like I said....I don't think that is the case here.


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I don't hold anything against it for not being a typical Hollywood movie. Normally, that would probably give it some extra bonus points. What I was expecting was some kind of point or purpose.

I, too, enjoyed the ride. Until the wheels came flying off and we ended up stuck in a ditch only half mile down the road..

Porn...pure porn.
We are asked by the filmmaker to stare as we drive around the horror of the blood and twisted steel on the side of the Highway.
IMO, it's refreshingly honest.

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Old 04-03-2012, 07:30 PM
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Sure, they're there for the girls....

Could be, but don't you think they were also controlled by Patrick?

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My take was he condoned her behavior.

I thought it was hard to tell, and I went back and forth on that point. I don't think he was in control of the situation, and that may have bothered him more than her act.

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If the goal of the filmmaker was for the audience to have empathy for the character, then this movie is a COMPLETE failure.
Like I said....I don't think that is the case here.

Porn...pure porn.
We are asked by the filmmaker to stare as we drive around the horror of the blood and twisted steel on the side of the Highway.
IMO, it's refreshingly honest.

Interesting. You don't think that the filmmaker wanted us to sympathize with Martha? And he'd be content if the audience considered the movie as 'porn'?

I could be misreading his intent, but I got the impression that he was aiming for something much higher.

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Could be, but don't you think they were also controlled by Patrick?

Yes I do, as long as the...uhh...female entertainment continued.


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I thought it was hard to tell, and I went back and forth on that point. I don't think he was in control of the situation, and that may have bothered him more than her act.

Agreed.


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Interesting. You don't think that the filmmaker wanted us to sympathize with Martha? And he'd be content if the audience considered the movie as 'porn'?

"Porn" in the sense we can't help but look.
Martha was fatally flawed...there was no way she will ever be healthy.
A character completely crippled, with no internal assets to build towards a "normal life."


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I could be misreading his intent, but I got the impression that he was aiming for something much higher.

It depends on one's reading....
In my estimation, the movie succeeded.
Of course, the filmmaker could have been trying for something other than what I perceived the story to be....but, I hope not.

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