After not hearing from her in years, Lucy (Sarah Paulson) suddenly gets a phone call from her younger sister (Elizabeth Olsen), who fails to tell her that she’s on the run from a cult in the Catskills… Sean Durkin’s feature film debut was a hit at Sundance and is indeed a cleverly directed drama about the effects of manipulation within a cult. The sights, sounds and memories of what she went through are still with Martha after she escapes; paranoia is coupled with a generally warped perception of the world. Flashbacks show us just how far the cult and its leader went; Durkin moves almost seamlessly between present and past. Very strong performances, especially Olsen’s.
2011-U.S. 101 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Antonio Campos, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Josh Mond. Written and directed by Sean Durkin. Cast: Elizabeth Olsen (Martha), John Hawkes (Patrick), Sarah Paulson (Lucy), Hugh Dancy, Brady Corbet, Louisa Krause.
Last word: “I made this movie with the single notion of telling Martha’s story. There are elements of horror, as in any film where a person goes through a terrifying situation. But I wanted it to have a purposeful sense of openness. I make choices about what goes on onscreen and it’s all very specific and deliberate. Any reaction to the material is the right reaction.” (Durkin, Time Out)