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15. Welcome To Marwen; movie review

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Title : 15. Welcome To Marwen; movie review
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Cert 12A
116 mins
BBFC advice: Contains moderate violence, injury detail, sex and drug references, discrimination

How the mighty are fallen. Thirty years ago, Robert Zemeckis was king of the big screen, thanks to Back To The Future.
Last night, just a week after its opening, there were just five of us in Nottingham Cineworld to watch his latest film, Welcome To Marwen.
Even a Back To The Future reference couldn't save this big-budget telling of a quirky and sometimes sad true story.
Welcome To Marwen is not a bad movie but I can see why it has become a box office disaster.
Mrs W and I discussed its failure on the way back to our car and decided that it had focused on the wrong element.
The foundation for Zemeckis's film is the therapy which artist Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) devised for himself after being nearly beaten to death by five thugs outside of a bar.
He lost all memory and so made up stories with female dolls, representing women who had been kind to him, fighting Nazi soldiers who stood for his attackers.
Indeed, the majority of the film is centred upon the dolls who come to life and play out an action-packed Second World War romance.
The story becomes so real in Hogancamp's mind that it has heavy reverberations of his real life.
This is particularly evident when a beautiful new neighbour (Leslie Mann) moves into the house opposite.
Welcome To Marwen is backed up by a compelling true story and Carell's performance earns audience empathy.
It asks questions about provision for those affected by trauma and whether they are subjected to more by having to go through the justice system.
But Mrs W and I both felt that it did not tell us enough about Hogancamp's background (for example, what happened to his family?).
The truth is that Zemeckis ignored vital elements so he could play with dolls and try to remind people how clever he is with special effects.
Maybe he is caught in his own time machine and needs to accept that the Back To the Future card has been played and now cinema-geors demand more.

Reasons to watch: Fine Zemickis-style special effects
Reasons to avoid: The substance of its true story is secondary to its style

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Female dolls without tops!
Overall rating: 7/10

Did you know? Welcome to Marwen is based on Village of the Dolls or Marwencol - a 2010 documentary which explores the life and work of artist and photographer Mark Hogancamp.

The final word - Steve Carell: "Mark has a dry sense of humor. But I didn’t try to copy him. When you are portraying someone that actually exists you don’t want them to feel like a science project. You are not seeing how they move or drink a cup of coffee. It’s much more about what they are as a human being."

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