After surviving a brutal hate crime, an artist turns to photography and a WWII fantasy world that he has created through dolls. As he retreats to his fantasies he battles medical addiction and trauma the day for him to testify against his assailants draws closer.
Welcome to Marwen, directed by Robert Zemeckis, follows the story of Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell), an artist with an overactive imagination suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after getting beaten within an inch of his life. As an additional result of his unfortunate event, he also suffers from amnesia and is no longer able to illustrate anything as he has lost the full use of his hands. Due to this, he has shifted his creativity elsewhere as we are taken into a small fantasy world of dolls that he has built in and around his home that also serves as a reflection of his reality and traumatic incident.
The film opens by introducing the audience to the conflict between the residents of Marwen, Mark’s miniature WWII Belgium fantasy town built into his yard, and a squad of Nazis. While creating a narrative via photography, Mark sets up his fighter pilot doll proxy in perilous situations with the Nazis who is then rescued by his crew of deadly trained women, each representing a woman in Mark’s reality. In doing so, the dolls are cinematically brought to life as the audience is then taken into Mark’s mind to view the story in the way he sees it. After spurts of viewing into Mark’s mind the audience is then placed back into the mundane, post-traumatic, and heavily medicated reality that is his life.
As Mark further develops the narrative for his fantasy world, he quickly becomes infatuated with the arrival of his new neighbor Nichol (Leslie Mann). As a result, he then begins to implement a character representing Nichol into his fantasy world alongside the other women in his life. After Nichol introduces herself, she quickly acknowledges that he is an artist and understandingly accepts her role within his art. Though she attempt to establish some boundaries before anyone truly gets hurt.
Meanwhile, Mark’s friends and lawyer attempt to help him build up the courage to arrive in court to testify against the men that assaulted him. However, the trauma of the event still heavily affects Mark as the notion of simply testifying against his assailants sends him into panic attacks and right to his medication pills. Afterwards, he retreats back into his fantasy world where he continues to photograph his dolls and build more narrative.
The overall effect of the film left me in a very conflicted state of mind. While I understand that Mark is a man suffering from PTSD and represents it in this narrative that he has created for his dolls, the repetition of going through the same narrative gets a little tiresome. On the other hand, I understand that it signifies the repeating struggle that Mark goes through on a daily basis. In addition, there are parts of conflict that are left unresolved regardless of a positive or negative outcome. On that note, I rate the film a 7 out of 10.
Release Date: December 21, 2018
Starring: Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González, Gwendoline Christie, Leslie Zemeckis, Neil Jackson
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer(s): Robert Zemeckis and Caroline Thompson
Distributor: Universal Studios / DreamWorks Studios
Genre: Biography / Drama / Comedy
Rating: PG – 13
Runtime: 115 min
Official Website: https://www.welcometomarwen.com/home/
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDB Page: @MarwenMovie
Eddieson Burkhalter | Writing Contributor
B.A | Japanese | San Diego State Univ.
My name is Eddieson. I’m an open minded dreamer that likes to look for new opportunities, experiences, and challenges in life to make things a bit more interesting. After graduating from San Diego State University with a Japanese degree and minor in Business, I landed an office job in Shinjuku, Japan where I dealt with online marketing matters as well as content creation. Though I come from an international business background I could never escape the alluring call of an emotionally manipulating story, regardless of the medium, that could turn the toughest body builder into a two year old child watching The Muppets and eating “pig newtons”. So long as the story is well done it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s presented as a comic, video game, anime, book, movie, or even an interpretive dance with bananas and jello. After some intense independent study I have not only been more than inspired to join the industry, but brought to a point where I wonder why I gave up pursuing this stuff in college and turned to a course of pulling my hair out before each exam. Regardless, I love stories and hope to be presented with the opportunity to tell my own; most likely through writing. With a fire in my heart and goals set I am actively gaining skills each day to hopefully one day help others in their endeavors as well as achieve my own dreams. |Instagram @BlaEddieBla| View My Blogs
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