“Fine mix, alternating poetic moments and absurd humour”
This stylish, feminist western from Indonesia guarantees a unique viewing experience. Marlina has just been widowed when a local gang shows up at her remote farm on the patriarchal island of Sumba.
The head of the gang announces that he and his men are going to rob her and abuse her, but that they would first like to be served a meal. As the film’s title suggests, this does not turn out well for the uninvited visitors. However, Marlina’s problems as a single woman on Sumba are not yet over.
Marlina the Murderer is as full of dry humour as a Jim Jarmusch film yet has all the hallmarks of a thrilling, classic western. The dry landscape of Sumba, so different to the rest of Indonesia, serves as a splendid background for this tale of revenge in four acts, with masterful CinemaScope images and a musical score that could have come from Ennio Morricone.
There is, however, one major difference between this film and traditional westerns: the events in which Marlina becomes involved during her journey around the island are the day-to-day reality on Sumba. This makes Marlina a contemporary heroine in a remote corner of Indonesia.