I love director´s who dare to go in different directions with their movies. What do i mean by this ? Well, i think director´s who don´t repeat themselves too much are interesting, since they are not afraid to try a different genre or make some unexpected choices. There are of course many director´s out there that are doing very different films, but let us talk about one director who have dared to try many different genre films. Director Robert Zemeckis have made a lot really great films, and i especially remember the 1984 film Romancing The Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. This film is a mixture of adventure and comedy, and worked really good thanks to the great cast. But it was one year later when Robert Zemeckis really made his name big worldwide with the sci fi comedy Back To The Future with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. This is one of those 80´s classics that will live on forever, because this film keeps finding new fans in younger generations. And i have to say, it is a charming and funny film in many ways. The sequels are fun also ( especially the third one that takes place during the western period ), but the first film will always be the best in this franchise. Zemeckis kept making great films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Death Becomes Her. But one of his most classic films was released in 1994, known as Forrest Gump. The funny and charming story of war veteran Forrest Gump, who gets to live a very extrodinary life. If you have not seen Forrest Gump yet, you have to check it out. It is one of the big classics of the 90´s and one of the best films from director Robert Zemeckis. One of the more unusual films that Zemeckis made is the film known as Flight. This was a more serious drama film about alcohol addiction, something we have not seen him do before. Released in 2012, Flight turned out to be a really interesting story of Airline pilot William Whitaker ( brillant played by actor Denzel Washington ) who crash a plane and manage to rescue 96 people out of 102. But they find out he was drunk while flying, and William is under an investigation. Flight is also a must see, if you have not seen it. I recently got my hands on a Blu Ray copy of Zemeckis new film Welcome To Marwen. Since i love many of his previous films, is this another highlight in his catalogue, or is this a big downfall for this legendary director ?
Mark Hogancamp ( Steve Carell ) spend his days taking photos of dolls, in a town he have created called Marwen. When Mark dream away, he imagine that the dolls are fighting the nazis in World War II. The fantasies help him cope with memory loss and posttraumatic stress disorder, after being attacked by a group of abusers. Mark is especially attached to the doll known as Cap´n Hogie, a war hero who never surrender to the nazis. But when it becomes harder to seperate reality and his doll world, Mark is forced to try and find a way to deal with his past.
If you were expecting another Zemeckis classic, you might be dissapointed with this film. It is not one of his better films, however, i still feel that this is an interesting portrait based on the Jeff Malmber´s documentary Marwencol. I have not seen this documentary myself, but i understand that this documentary tells the story of artist and photographer Mark Hogancamp. Welcome To Marwen is sort of a personal portrait of Mark Hogancamp, where he takes photos of modified fashion dolls, and live inside the doll world as Cap´n Hogie. The most interesting parts of this film is when we get to see Mark trying to handle every day, as he escape into the doll world to forget about his personal problems. Lead actor Steve Carell ( who had done several of great performances, especially in the comedy TV series The Office, and of course in the really funny romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love ) does a good job portraying Mark Hogancamp. I feel that he was the right choice for portraying this kind of character, since he knows how to play more dramatic roles. Let´s talk about the cast as well. Actress Leslie Mann ( who i really enjoyed in the comedy Knocked Up ) plays the lovely character Nicol. If every neighbor was as lovely as the character Nicol is, i guarantee you would love to live in that neighborhood. Actress Merritt Wever plays the hobby shop owner Roberta. She is one of those characters you feel sorry for, since she seems to have such a good heart and not many friends. Merritt give a good performance, and i feel that she gives Roberta a realistic portrait, who i am sure many people can relate to. There are other performance here that works as well, but let´s get into the visual effects with the dolls. This is one of the details that make this film unique, since they look great on screen. So what does not work in this film ? To be honest i don´t have much to complain about, perhaps that the dramatic scenes are not as strong as most of Zemeckis films have been in the past. I still feel that director Robert Zemeckis have made a film with a different view into the mind of a man, who is struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder. I know many movie critics have been hard against this film, i still enjoy this film either way. So if you love odd drama films, this is a film you should see for being different. Marwen seems like a nice town, i might also build my own doll world from now on, after seeing this charming film.