4 January 2019.
WELCOME TO MARWEN ***
Based on the life of Mark Hogancamp, this completely bizarre but charming film is a mix of live actors and Barbie-type figures that pop up in our character’s gentle musings but also in his worst nightmares. For his psychological problems stem from his time as a soldier in WWII, his memories of the Nazis, and just recently the terrible beating he endured by some thugs who attacked him in a bar and left him badly damaged, both physically and emotionally.
As part of his rehabilitation therapy, Hogancamp created Marwencol, a whole miniature town with perfectly crafted dolls that represent the people in his make-believe universe. There is even a book and documentary on his creations and how they helped in his recovery.
Robert Zemekis, the talented director of such films as the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Forrest Gump”, “Cast Away” and “The Polar Express”, has created here his own mesmerizing vision of a desperate man’s attempt at wiping out his worst memories with a make-believe world.
Steve Carrel is both touching and amusing as Hogancamp, and his tough, tender and sexy crew of Barbie-dolls are brilliant copies of the live actresses such as Leslie Mann and Diane Kruger – whom you may have a hard time recognizing. This is a wonderous, adventurous tale that has its head in the clouds and its feet planted firmly in the healing land of Marwen. A crazy, innovative delight.
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.