It’s a small, offbeat movie, punctuated by bursts of terrible violence but also infused with a winning strain of deadpan humor that’s not too far removed from Jim Jarmusch.
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Rather than epic or thrilling, justice becomes an errand, an extension of domestic work.
At once an enjoyable genre ride and a feminist art house story, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts might send some heads rolling but has its own head firmly on its shoulders.
With a Morricone-inspired score, gorgeous cinematography that screams to be witnessed on a big screen, and bleak humor, this film’s tightly executed, meticulously controlled surface barely contains the seething fury within.
The film is enlivened by an acute grasp of the impossibilities that abused Indonesian women face in a society predicated on their continued physical and emotional subjugation to men.
The whole thing is handled with sly wit as well as unfailing stylistic smarts, which makes for a very satisfying package.
A thoroughly enjoyable, visually ravishing feminist Western played out in the widescreen vistas of rural Indonesia, Marlina The Murderer In Four Acts weaves basic elements into a tale worth telling splendidly accompanied by a sit-up-and-take-notice musical score.
At once tightly controlled and simmering with righteous fury, it’s gorgeously lensed, atmospherically scored and moves inexorably toward a gratifying payoff.
Working with the cinematographer Yunus Pasolang, Ms. Surya gives “Marlina” a stark, steady, captivating look that keeps you largely engaged even when the story and your attention drift.
Eventually, the drama closes in on itself and attains the logic of a dream, though a dream that dissipates quickly on waking.