Month: March 2012

What’s In a Name? Decoding the Ambiguity in Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2012) looks at fragility of the human mind and how it can be manipulated, in the process contorting personality and identity. It follows a young girl as ideals are imposed on her from conflicting perspectives of consumerist society and counter culture community – ultimately fracturing her sense of self. The following analysis will look at the crisis of identity that is titled in the film, as Martha becomes Marcy May and finally Marlene.

martha_marcy_may_marlene_movie_image_elizabeth_olson_01

Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) is a young girl who, along with her older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson), had been abandoned by her father after the death of their mother. Seeking refuge and a new family she joins an alternative community in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The film begins two years after this induction as Martha flees the commune to her sister’s scenic lakeside retreat in Connecticut – her personality fragmented by her abusive experience.

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pretense

I offer him a seat
against my better judgement
and best intention,
now talking to the elephant
that the others abstained to mention.
Turns out what this night needed
was an awkward social tension –
as they pretend to talk
and I pretend to listen
I await a well needed intervention.
And yet they go on pretending
that we aren’t holding their attention.
Watching them watching
I lose track of an answer
that is too late to question
so instead stare blankly
and smile hardly…
the bunch of cunts

The Scorpion and the Frog: The Fable of an Anti-hero in Drive (2011)

Edit: Condensed the analysis into a video here

Faced with a river, a scorpion enlists the help of a frog to ferry it across the water on its back. Fearful for being stung, the scorpion explains that if it were to sting the frog they would both drown. Alas, halfway across the river the scorpion stings the frog. As they begin to sink to their death the frog asks the scorpion why it had doomed them both, receiving the reply that it is in its nature.

The broken halo of a violent hero

Ryan Gosling plays the part of a nameless Hollywood stuntman/ mechanic/ getaway driver turned breadwinning moral avenger in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive – subverting the strong-silent type of classic cinema and, like Refn’s Valhalla Rising and Bronson, calling into question the nature of violent heroes on screen. The following analysis will examine how the hero of Drive is made to appear reserved and unpredictable in an effort to make him unknowable – but really how his actions are undermined by his childlike sensibilities and confused sense of self.