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  • Entertainment

MOVIE: Welcome to the very odd world of Marwen

Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019 7:00pm
MOVIE: Welcome to the very odd world of Marwen
MOVIE: Welcome to the very odd world of Marwen

Paul O’Rourke

EVERYONE loves Robert Zemeckis. The writer/producer behind such films as ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Polar Express’, certainly has an keen eye for what the public want. 

But at 66, he’s nearing retirement age, and as we get older, sometimes our sight can lose a little sharpness. 

With his new venture ‘Welcome to Marwen’, Zemeckis tackles the real life story of Mark Hogancamp, the subject of 2010’s critically acclaimed documentary, ‘Marwencol’. 

Hogancamp (played here by Steve Carell) suffered a savage attack in 2000 when a group of thugs objected to his cross-dressing and beat him into a coma and within an inch of his life. During his recovery, it became clear that Hogancamp had lost all memory of his previous existence, and so he sets about creating a new one in the form of a miniature World War II town in his back garden, a place he can play, photograph and let his imagination run free. 

The people in real life become characters in this fantasy world, the gang who beat him up become Nazi soldiers and Hogancamp himself becomes the hero. 

It’s a nice idea for a story that sounds charming, sweet and fantastical, three words that constantly recur when talking about Zemeckis films. So as a project, it should have worked really well, but for some reason, it falls short.

Carell is back to his doll collecting pursuits from ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin’ and is perfectly fine in the lead roll, as is Leslie Mann as the focus of Hogancamp’s love interest, Nicol. 

Zemeckis makes some nods to his previous work, with a heavy reference to ‘Back to the Future’ in the closing sequence and a poster that’s reminiscent of Hanks on a bench in ‘Forrest Gump’. 

But overall, this film fails to make the audience sympathise with the lead character sufficiently for us to care about his fate, the only real threat and stakes are inside Hogancamp’s head, and there isn’t enough comedy to lighten the mood. We award it a review score of 2.5 odd stars.


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