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Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts review – Leone meets Tarantino in Indonesia

Posted by On 9:37 AM

Westerns Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts review – Leone meets Tarantino in Indonesia 3 / 5 stars
Machetes, poisonous berries and headless ghosts litter the sunbaked plains of Sumba in Mouly Surya’s revenge drama

Deadpan and disquieting … Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts.
Deadpan and disquieting … Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts. Photograph: Eriekn Juragan
This macabre and deadpan film from the Indonesian director Mouly Surya has been described as a “satay western”. It’s a violent rape-revenge tale that takes place in the sunbaked and sweeping plains of Sumba in eastern Indonesia, which Surya endows with the same stark quality that Sergio Leone gave Spain’s Tabernas Desert.
Marlina (Marsha Timothy) is a widow; seven men from the local village arrive at her house intent on stealing her livestock and raping her. But Marlina has her fierce payback with poisonous berries and a machete that she has perhaps been keeping for just this eventuality. Her escape brings her into contact with the pregnant Novi (Dea Panendra) and these two women’s destinies entwine.
This movie, with its four coolly conceived chapters, is well crafted and composed, a little like a Tarantino film – although it is the opposite of macho. Timothy brings a purposeful stillness to the role and gives weight to the drama, but I thought that the film was perhaps no more than the sum of its parts. One of Marlina’s chief tormentors, Markus (Egy Fedly) reappears in the drama as a headless ghost, and it is a disquieting moment – although it is not entirely clear what his effect on Marlina is. If it is a metaphorical haunting this is opaque, as Marlina does not feel guilty, and her intention to go to the matter to the police is a simple matter of reporting an entirely understandable act of self-defence. Eventually, the drama closes in on itself and attains the logic of a dream, though a dream that dissipates quickly on waking.
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Source: Google News Indonesia | Berita 24 English

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