Welcome to Marwen Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

In April 2000, American artist Mark Hogancamp was brutally attacked by several thugs. The result: five days in a coma and no memory of what happened. In order to deal with the resulting trauma, Hogancamp took refuge in a fantasy world populated by dolls – and Robert Zemeckis is now diving into this world in his tragicomedy WELCOME TO MARWEN a.

The Plot Summary

He prefers to recreate exciting war adventures with his dolls, but there is a dramatic story behind Mark Hogancamp’s (Steve Carell) extraordinary hobby: Not too long ago, the passionate painter and collector of women’s shoes was attacked in a bar and almost killed Beaten to death. With a lot of effort and a lot of pain, Mark had to relearn everyday things. Even though he can now walk and talk perfectly again, he is still haunted by fragmented memories of that night. He is very afraid of the impending court date of the arrested perpetrators. When the charming Nicol (Leslie Mann) moves into the house across the street, Mark dares to step outside the door for the first time without his dolls, which give him strength and emotional support. But now Mark is so caught up in his own world that it’s difficult for him to lead a normal life again…

Movie explanation of the ending

The desperate call for original material is getting louder in times of remakes, reboots and sequels, but it is also fraught with risk. This was recently given to, of all people, hit director Robert Zemeckis (“The Walk”) to be felt – and his tragicomedy “Welcome to Marwen”, which has elements of tricks and war, is actually not entirely new, as it is based on the documentary “Marwencol” from 2010. Unfortunately, it only grossed almost 40 million US dollars. The dollar-priced film had such a box office crash landing that the gross of almost 13 million couldn’t even recoup the production costs. In this respect, on the one hand we can say we are lucky that “Welcome to Marwen” is coming to USA cinemas at all, but on the other hand this failure is partly self-inflicted. The true events drama, which is comparable to almost no other feature film, is so full of inventiveness and directorial contradictions that it is almost impossible to advertise the film adequately without revealing too much and still doing justice to all aspects of the film , of which “Welcome to Marwen” has a lot. This won’t attract many viewers to the cinemas and whether this will even inspire the few is also up in the air. But Robert Zemeckis definitely deserves respect for this brave experiment in combining a devastating character drama, exploitation puppet action and an almost-love story!

Mark needs his dolls to process the trauma.

The script for “Welcome to Marwen” (Robert Zemeckis and Caroline Thompson) also develops its appeal from the completely subjective narrative perspective. Hardly a scene doesn’t feature either Mark Hogankamp as a real person or his puppet-like alter ego Captain Hoagie. This allows us to get very close to his character’s motivations, his thoughts and fears, and we can also make the connection between what happens in reality and the way Mark processes it all through his puppetry. This is sometimes quite painful; When the man is suddenly haunted by memories of the brutal night and for him at that moment it amounts to a no less terrible war attack, we feel the fear of the traumatized person firsthand. At the same time, Mark has lost touch with reality in many moments to such an extent that his behavior invites an involuntary smile. From the viewer’s perspective, a failed marriage proposal lacks any logic or life experience, but it says an enormous amount about Hogancamp’s state of mind and is actually anything but laughable, but instead one of the most tragic moments in “Welcome to Marwen”.

Steve Carell, who plays an Oscar-worthy performance (at least) for the second time after “Foxcatcher,” invests his character with a sensitive mixture of absolute self-sacrifice and timid confidence, thereby collecting sympathy points despite noticeable rough edges. Nevertheless, he never consciously garners pity; If you as a viewer empathize, it always happens out of the situation and not because director Robert Zemeckis additionally provokes these emotions using musical accompaniment or other directorial calculations. In addition to Carell, “Welcome to Marwen” mainly features women (who Mark dresses in an admittedly questionably playful fetish look) – the original title of the film was “The Women of Marwen”. That’s no wonder: If Mark’s life was explicitly destroyed by a group of men, only women subsequently helped him find his place back in life. This makes “Welcome to Marwen” not only a stirring character drama about a traumatized man who fights his way back to life in an unconventional way, but also a sincere declaration of love for women in general.

The photos Mark took of his dolls were later exhibited in a museum.

The technical presentation plays a significant role in the positive impression of “Welcome to Marwen”. It’s not for nothing that the film found itself on the Oscar shortlist for “Best Visual Effects” and was probably only not finally nominated because the film failed horribly at the box office – this also applies to Carell’s lack of a nomination in the “Best” category Main actor”. The effects of Barbie-looking dolls that come to life, reminiscent of “Small Soldiers” from 1998, mean that you never just have the feeling that you are watching characters created on the computer in front of a real backdrop. Instead, Robert Zemeckis plays with the possibilities it offers him (including doll bodies that break through in the middle instead of being impaled or limbs that are stiff throughout even when moving) when the main characters are dolls that are reduced in terms of facial expressions and movement possibilities. From the first dynamic war scene above the clouds, you get the feeling that you are really watching a person playing with dolls. Given this history, it is no longer surprising that the resulting photographs even received their own art exhibition.

Conclusion: With “Welcome to Marwen,” director Robert Zemeckis combines war action performed by animated puppets with a sensitive drama about a trauma patient, which Steve Carell embodies in an absolutely award-worthy manner.

“Welcome to Marwen” can be seen in USA cinemas from March 28th.

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