Mark Hogancamp suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. A victim of a brutal attack at the hands of neo nazi thugs, he retreats into a world of dolls that he builds. Set in the fictitious town of Marwen, Mark re-enacts the adventures of Hogie, a downed fighter pilot in world war two. Aided and abetted by a band of scantily clad female resistance fighters, Hogie fights back the advance of Nazi Germany. However when a new neighbour (Leslie Mann) moves in next door, the lines between fantasy and reality start to disintegrate.
Robert Zemeckis’s new comedy drama is caught between two worlds: the real and the playful...
Based on a true story, director Robert Zemeckis’s new comedy drama is caught between two worlds: the real and the playful. Whilst Mark’s obsession with his dolls are the conduit to his inner psyche, this more serious reason ‘why’ is continually discarded by a filmmaker in love with his own toy set. Descending so often into Marwen’s world of cartoon violence, the more interesting aspects of Mark’s coping mechanism sadly get drowned out by loud gunfire and scantily clad heroines.
So, whilst Steve Carell and his assembled actresses give their all, in what is an undeniably attractive motion picture, the marionette strings upon each character remain attached. As the dolls do Mark’s bidding, so the cast does Robert Zemeckis’s. Painted increasingly in by numbers, the catalysts for change are slight when they come and sadly separate you further from the action when they should actually bind to it. Add to this, a slow introduction of Mark’s attack being treated as a ‘hate crime’ and the serious tone that was discarded in act two, struggles to reestablish itself in the third.
At its very end, all the dots join up, all the characters are resolved and their romantic arcs are duly completed. However for a film that more accurately and intelligently skewers prejudice against enlightenment, last year’s ‘Professor Marsden and The Wonder Women’ is a more rewarding choice. Whilst well intentioned and well-made, ‘Welcome to Marwen’ sadly misses its point whilst pandering to the children who have already grown up.