Morlang

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Dutch writer-director Tjebbo Penning's English-language film takes the cliches of direct-to-video thriller claptrap — a shattering affair, a mysterious death, sinister persecution by a person or persons unknown — and twists them into a cool, disquieting psychological mystery about trust and betrayal. Ensconced in a handsome Irish country house with his...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Dutch writer-director Tjebbo Penning's English-language film takes the cliches of direct-to-video thriller claptrap — a shattering affair, a mysterious death, sinister persecution by a person or persons unknown — and twists them into a cool, disquieting psychological mystery about trust and betrayal. Ensconced in a handsome Irish country house with his vibrant younger girlfriend and muse, Ann (Susan Lynch), middle-aged Dutch art photographer Julius Morlang (Paul Freeman) is creatively engaged, making new works and fielding calls about prospective buyers from his agent, Wim (Eric van der Donk). Only two years earlier, however, Morlang's life was a far different affair. Back then, Wim couldn't sell his new pieces, and an up-and-coming artist (Marcel Faber) was stealing his limelight and hitting on Ellen

(Diana Kent), Morlang's wife of 15 years. Worse yet, Ellen received a devastating and utterly unexpected medical prognosis after some routine tests. What happened between then and now and who just laid waste to Morlang's studio, scrawling a cryptic but somehow threatening message on a snapshot of Morlang and Ellen in happier days? Penning parcels out information in glittering, vaguely menacing shards, including snippets of a home video in which Ellen explains that she's entered into a suicide pact. But his measured, confounding antithriller packs a nasty surprise for anyone hoping it might deliver a bang-up finale in which the mild-mannered artist goes mano a mano with his tormentor. There's no cathartic resolution, just a matter-of-fact reminder that bitter cruelty can lurk in familiar hearts and wicked acts often go unpunished. Supposedly based loosely on a true story, the film isn't a conventional audience pleaser, but it's icily haunting nonetheless.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Dutch writer-director Tjebbo Penning's English-language film takes the cliches of direct-to-video thriller claptrap — a shattering affair, a mysterious death, sinister persecution by a person or persons unknown — and twists them into a cool, disquieting ps… (more)

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