7/10 Director Robert Zemeckis took the documentary “Man on Wire” and adapted it into “The Walk” back in 2015. Although “The Walk” was decent, it didn’t reach the level of quality of the original documentary. Zemeckis tries again with another true life tale based off of the documentary “Marwencol”. From that has sprung “Welcome to Marwen”, a film that has been bashed by critics and did very poorly at the box office. Although this film has problems, it is not as bad as critics are saying it is and deserves a look. I would recommend watching “Marwencol” before seeing this film, which leads to my first major problem with “Welcome to Marwen”. If you haven’t seen “Marwencol”, some of the things in this movie will seem strange and out of place. Yet if, like me, you have seen “Marwencol”, a lot of things that seem random will be put into perspective and make more sense. This film should have done a better job explaining some things without making the viewer having to go and watch another film first. Another problem this film faces is tonal issues. The film has trouble jumping back and forth between serious, heartfelt drama, romance, fantasy and everything else in between. These tonal shifts can be rather jarring and makes me wish Zemeckis would have just settled upon one tone and mastered that. If you have seen the preview you know that some of the film takes place in the imaginary city of Marwen, as seen via the CGI dolls that our protagonist builds and photographs. What I didn’t know or expect was that about 50% of the film takes place in this CGI world of Marwen. I think a little bit less of Marwen and a little bit more of the real world would have benefitted the film. All that being said, there are many positive aspects to the film. First of all, the story is very fascinating and this true, tragic tale is definitely one worth telling. Most of the cast does a solid job with the exception of a couple very minor characters that you forget about pretty quickly. The main players do a solid job of portraying these characters and the struggles they face. I like how this film does include a lot of the real life problems as seen in the documentary on which this is based. The CGI looks like the dolls in the world of Marwen so instead of looking cheesy, the CGI fits perfectly with what it is portraying. There are some emotional moments that deliver and the editing works. Switching back and forth between real life and this CGI universe is a fairly original idea that works with the story, instead of coming off as a gimmick. Despites some flaws and tonal issues, I recommend doing a double feature of “Marwencol” followed up by this to see a fascinating, true story told in a unique, refreshing way.
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