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Review: Welcome to Marwen (2018)

Director: | 115 minutes | , | Actors: Steve Carell, , Matt O’Leary, , , , , , , , , Janelle Monáe, Leslie Mann, Neil Jackson, ,

When a comedian goes serious, that can result in beautiful cinema. Take the late for instance. Behind his busy mannerisms and ADHD humor was also a talented dramatic actor. Just look at his creepy role in “One Hour Photo” or his subdued rendition in “The Night Listener.” Williams had two sides. Steve Carell has also proven for a long time that he can not just hang out. His whacky character from “Anchorman” is in stark contrast to his layered rendition in a movie like “Looking For a Friend For The End Of The World”. Especially in more profound roles Carell comes into its own. In “Welcome To Marwen”, the American comedian once again plays a serious role and again makes an impression.

In “Welcome To Marwen”, Carell takes on the role of Mark Hogancamp. This man really exists and has a “special” past, to say the least. He was badly beaten because of his love for women’s shoes. This serious abuse traumatized Hogencamp enormously, as a result of which he could no longer carry out his job as a cartoonist. In order to process these violent events, he decided to throw himself into a fantasy world. In his garden he created a miniature village called Marwen, where he filmed the WWII adventures of his alter ego Cap’n Hogie with the help of dolls and a photo camera. He tried to process his psychological trauma. Happiness seems to be smiling when he meets Nicol, his new neighbor across the street.

The synopsis sounds too absurd to be true, but Hogancamp really does exist. Robert Zemeckis – once a genius director with titles such as “Back To The Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” to his name – fails to tell a cohesive story. Without prior knowledge this cannot be followed very well and that is a shame. A shame really, because Carell is in great shape. He knows how to give a somewhat strange and pathetic figure a human face and never lapses into caricature play. Even the semi-obligatory love storyline can still be called acceptable thanks to his playing. “Welcome To Marwen” is not bad, but in this “not bad” film there is a true masterpiece that cannot be revealed due to the confused direction. Especially recommended for fans of Carell.

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