On April 8, 2000, aspiring artist Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) became a victim of a violent assault when five men beat him up and left him for dead. Following the attack, Mark was left with little to no memory of his previous life due to brain damage inflicted by his attackers. In a desperate attempt to regain his memories, Hogancamp constructs a miniature World War II village called Marwen in his yard to help in his recovery. Unfortunately, Mark's demons come back to haunt him when he's asked to testify against the five men that attacked him..
As Mark packs away his dolls in the opening scene you can hear a subtle callback in the score to the Back to the Future theme. See more »
Talking with Nicol, Mark says that Deja Thoris has a magic glove that "can zap anyone she doesn't like 15 million light-years in the future".
A light-year is a unit of distance, not time: it's the distance covered by the light in a year. See more »
I like to wear heels sometimes. I don't know why but they somehow connect me to the essence of dames. Does it bother you?
It doesn't bother me in the least.
Good. I - love - dames.
See more »
Written & Performed by Joni Mitchell
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing See more »
Makes You Want To Watch The Documentary It Was Based On Instead
Before I saw WELCOME TO MARWEN, I saw a tweet calling it "Zemeckis' VERTIGO." Although I scoffed at the idea, after viewing it, I realized that it held some merit, with one of the female characters, played by Merritt Wever, eerily inhabiting a very similar role to that of Barbara Bel Geddes. There are some interesting ideas on display throughout the film that mirror themes found in VERTIGO, as both focus on men attempting to move past a traumatic experience. However, the men in both films elect to move past this trauma by shaping the females around them in their own desired image. It worked in VERTIGO, but 60 years removed from that film, such a premise seems tone-deaf to say the least. Furthermore, Zemeckis' latest film will no doubt serve as further evidence for the group of critics that peg him as a filmmaker primarily interested in the latest special effects rather than one primarily interested in telling a story. Zemeckis seems like an odd choice to helm this film, as he never opts for a subtle, tender approach to telling the story of Steve Carrell's Mark Hogancamp, who was assaulted by a group of white supremacists. Instead, Zemeckis opts to place the film's visual effects at the forefront, and electing to focus on shootouts and explosions rather than a more nuanced exploration of Hogancamp's fragile psychological state. That the film also revels in some more obvious instances of male "gaziness" when it shows some of the animated female doll figures topless is worthy of an eye-roll, to say the least.
That being said, I truly do think that Steve Carrell delivers a better performance here than most will give him credit for. When the script, written by Zemeckis and Caroline Thompson, isn't actively attempting to display the film's special effects (or having Carrell deliver some truly awful lines about the "essence of a woman"), Carrell does at least attempt to understand the struggles that his character's real-life counterpart underwent after the assault. The majority of the cast (even Leslie Mann, whose character unfortunately follows the manic pixie dream girl stereotype) also delivers some solid work, especially the aforementioned Wever. That being said, watching WELCOME TO MARWEN left me thinking that this was a story that didn't necessarily need to be made into a film, especially when a critically-acclaimed documentary about Hogancamp himself named MARWENCOL already exists.
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