PARK CITY, Utah — One of the hot films at this year's Sundance Film Festival is Martha Marcy May Marlene, though its alliterative title can be hard to keep straight.They're "everywhere"? You've questioned "why people feel the need to be in a group"? Yea, yea - whatever - get a blog, asshole. We've heard that stuff before. (Based on these comments, we bet this guy probably thinks he's smarter than everyone else, too!) Somebody better step in and set him straight before his movie starts convincing the NewAgers into 2012 or reiki of this "conspiracy theory".
First-time director Sean Durkin's psychologically probing film about a girl who escapes from a cult in the Catskills had many people talking about the powerful performance of 20-year-old lead actress, Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the titular multi-named girl.
"I did lots of research into cults," said Durkin. "I wanted to do something about a cult that was contemporary, since so many times movies about them are set in the '60s and '70s."
In his research into a wide variety of cults, he found similar methods of manipulation and abuse, he said.
"It just seems there's a sort of consistency," he said. He also drew upon actual experiences of a friend who had left a cult and said it took her seven years to speak of her ordeal.
This film is about the difficult adjustment in the first couple of weeks after Martha (Olson) leaves the commune led by the creepily charismatic Patrick (Winter's Bone's John Hawkes).
"I know that it's not that this fictional, exaggerated thing," Olson said after the film's premiere. " I know a few people who told me their parents had been in a cult and I know someone who was born in a cult. It's everywhere. It's not this crazy, outlandish idea. It's rooted in something that exists."
Durkin had made a short film called Mary Last Seen exploring the various methods used to draw people into cults. From there he worked on the script at Sundance screenwriter's lab last January and the director's lab in June, shooting the film over six weeks in August and September.
"I've always been fascinated about why people feel the need to be in a group" said Durkin.
His film's even got somebody from "Winter's Bone" in it. Jeez, what a loser.
"First-time director" Sean Durkin's a fucking fruitcake, if you ask us.