Charles Manson once said that “If you‘re going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy“. In the case of this engrossing but tiresome film,there is a witchiness but it unfortunately falls short of a production ‘done well‘. I say this because I was irked by its‘ many mediocrities. The parallels established betweeen our protagonist, Martha, and her dual realities of the communal dystopia and the corporate–citizen mundane left me in disbelief. I felt that these comparisons were highly unrealistic in an otherwise believable scenario: the characters of Ted and Lucy were far too stereotypical and I was glad actors Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy had salvaged the most they could from the roles. Equally, Martha was played very well by Elizabeth Olsen; her performance increasingly compelling following Martha‘s egress from the clutches of Patrick. This Manson–like figure was also played adeptedly by John Hawkes (Winter‘s Bone) but none so convincing as to warrant accolades. The film‘s climactic drive was equally powerful to the acting, but unfortunately lacked the production values to let this film accomplish.
At the end of the day, Martha is director Sean Durkin‘s smugly crafted amalgamation of his previous projects (such as the short Mary Last Seen) into what I believe is a failed attempt at understanding the mindset of someone shell–shocked by indoctrination.