Marlina the Murderer (2017)
Directed by: Mouly Surya | 90 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Marsha Timothy, Egy Fedly, Dea Panendra, Yoga Pratama, Haydar Salishz
Marlina the widow lives with her pigs, chickens and goats on a farm in a deserted hilly area. One day she receives an unsolicited visit from the outlaw Markus, followed a little later by his gang. They steal her animals, eat her food and look forward to the night when they will rape Marlina one by one. In doing so, the men forget that a widow with a murder weapon is not the most relaxed company.
In ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’ we experience this night and the days that follow. The four acts in which the film is divided are consistent in style but differ greatly in tone. The first part (the robbery) is intense and exciting, the second part (the journey) is especially witty, the third part (the confession) is thoughtful, the fourth part (the birth) is a real finale, where all the foregoing comes together .
Title and structure already reveal that ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’ is slightly contrived. The film offers a fun genre mix of western and engaged girl power drama. The wide landscapes (in cinemascope), the prairie music, the lonely widow and the gang of outlaws come from the western, Marlina and her female helpers come from the girl power angle.
Not everything has been equally successful. Although the ideas usually work out well, occasionally things go wrong. Sometimes logic is sacrificed for the appeal of a nice shot or a funny development. The film also collapses after an hour.
Fortunately, there is much good in return, starting with the beautiful Indonesian island of Sumba. You can immerse yourself in the expansive visuals and the depiction of the simple island culture. The fact that contemporary things such as smartphones suddenly appear is pleasantly disruptive in this case. Also the acting, the music, the magical realistic touch and the humor are all perfectly fine.
‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’ is a fine film for the adventurous moviegoer. It is clear that the young director Mouly Suria was educated in the west (and has seen a Tarantino). But that doesn’t stop you from seeing this original mix of east and west.