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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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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
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) home invasion thriller
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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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink /forum/post/21807812


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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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonbud0 /forum/post/21810685


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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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.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by srw1000 /forum/post/21851984


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:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink /forum/post/21852115


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?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oink /forum/post/21852115


I agree with this part of your spoiler:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by srw1000 /forum/post/21852213


You may be right. But, if that's the case, why should we care?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens /forum/post/21852903


I'll get into this movie tomorrow, but what was with the ending?

I thought the ending was perfect.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizzack /forum/post/21232581


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
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) home invasion thriller
but that was not the case.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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.


Quote:
Originally Posted by oink /forum/post/21852609


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.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens /forum/post/21853918

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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.

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


Quote:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink /forum/post/21852609


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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens /forum/post/21853918


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.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
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.
The real person lacking power was the filmmaker.


Scott
 
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