Out on Blu-ray and DVD now are two of the best movies of last year whose names you didn’t hear at the Oscars. Despite Michael Shannon’s powerhouse lead performance in the psychological suspense drama ‘Take Shelter,’ he was somehow left out of the Best Actor race. ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ is also anchored by an incredibly soulful performance not nominated for an Oscar.
Before I started tallying up the movies that made the biggest impression this year, I thought it may have been a weak year for film. It turns out I was dead wrong. Although only one film this year made my hair stand up on end, there were plenty of moving, adventurous, and original films in 2011.
Director Sean Durkin uses shallow depth of field in an attempt to accentuate the psychological claustrophobia that Martha feels. Instead he manages to distract from Elizabeth Olsen’s stellar performance and detach the viewer from the emotional content or a genuine understanding of a well developed character.