Monday, June 25, 2018
MARLINA THE MURDERER IN FOUR ACTS is in theaters
Initially, the cocky Markus arrives alone, but the rest of his gang will be there shortly. He is a particularly sinister piece of work, who makes it clear he expects Marlina to be an accomplice to her own victimization. That even includes cooking chicken soup for her prospective rapists. In retrospect, that demand turns out to be a mistake. Marlina knocks off four of them through poison and she manages to decapitate Markus while he is getting down to his Weinstein business. However, Deanz and Ian were whisking away her chickens and goats, but they naturally feel they need to settle the score when they return to find Marlina’s carnage.
They will track Marlina, who had a notion she should turn over Markus’s head to the nearest useless police station. She is reluctantly traveling with her ultra-pregnant neighbor Novi, who is determined to find her absentee husband (the lout who considers her overdue delivery evidence of infidelity), and an aunt and nephew desperate to deliver the balance of his dowry: two horses. The provincial bus driver isn’t thrilled about taking on these six passengers (horses included), but Marlina’s machete won’t take no for an answer.
Essentially, Surya has crafted an Indonesian western, with sandy vistas worthy of John Ford, albeit executed at a slow art-house pace. There is also more than a touch of the surreal, notably including Markus’s headless ghost, which haunts the otherwise not-too-broken-up Marlina. Surya uses western devices in sly ways, but it does not require much interpretive heavy-lifting to deduce her points about the state of women’s rights on the tradition-bound island. Her husband’s body isn’t even buried yet (that’s his embalmed mummy sitting in the corner) before Markus and his thugs come calling.
Marsha Timothy is awesomely fierce as Marlina, but she is still a vulnerable woman rather than a superhero. Yet, Dea Panendra’s innocently bubbly Novi gets all the real tragedy and tribulations, because the world-weary Marlina is clearly done caring. On the other hand, Egy Fedly and Yoga Pratama are appropriately despicable as the rat-like Markus and the protesting too much Franz.
Four Acts is an immersive film that transports viewers to its arid, hardscrabble environment. It is also an angry film that invites viewers to either share or feel Marlina’s wrath. Consider us down with Team Marlina. Recommended for fans of major auteurs, including Lisandro Alonso, Jean-Jacques Annuad, Bela Tarr, and Peter Weir.
MARLINA opened in the US this past Friday and plays in Toronto starting June 29