Dutch director Tjebbo Penning has brought to us a subject that we are quite familiar with, but his portrayal of the story line and the characters, gives the movie “Morlang” the touch of a psycho-thriller movie.
Dutch director Tjebbo Penning has brought to us a subject that we are quite familiar with, but his portrayal of the story line and the characters, gives the movie “Morlang” the touch of a psycho-thriller movie, where we impatiently wait for the end to come when the results for our observations will be revealed. The movie is a walk through the life of a fictional British painter who creates some wild canvases where he uses photos and splashes them with paints producing a work of art that is different and is greatly admired by people. His paintings have earned him both fame and money, but his obsession for his muses leads him to a stage of eccentricity also brought about by his ageing self.
The movie moves between times from the past to the present and vice versa where we see the two different sides of Morlang’s (Paul Freeman) character. As the effects of age begins to creep in Morlang’s obsession for his muses begins to work on his mind. Trouble starts when Ellen (Diana Kent), Morlang’s wife of 15 years and also his muse and secretary is forced into having an affair with a young Dutch painter, Robert Jansen (Marcel Faber). Morlang is more or less to blame for this, but he does not take very well to his wife’s infidelity and we see in a scene that he peers through the skylight looking down at the young artist and his wife making love. He reacts by taking pictures of them and then developing the photos into canvas size and splashing them with paint.
The scene changes to the present where Morlang has moved to Ireland, now married to the young and glamorous Anne (Susan Lynch) and we are given the idea that Ellen has died of a brain tumor some years ago. It is not until the mysterious messages on Morlang’s phone voice recorder reels out a message, which apparently is in the voice of his ex-wife, supposedly dead now. These continuous strange messages received on the voice recorder spark off a thrilling suspense that keeps you estimating whether Ellen is really dead. Is that her ghost or is she still alive and trying to drive Morlang insane. You have to keep guessing till the very end when the truth is revealed in the last few minutes of the film.
The secret that was buried in Morlang’s mind all these years finally comes out in the traumatic climax. The unexpected happens when you were least expecting it. From a subject that was basically dealing with human relationships, we come out in the end to something sinister and evil, but thrilling to the core. Morlang makes character moves and we see varying shades of emotions from sheer innocence to guilt, bitterness and even remorse as we move through the time frame along with him. The movie, which is first set in Amsterdam and then moves to the Irish coast, has been well scripted as an entertaining thriller. We see all kinds of human behavior, from love, adoration, jealousy, betrayal, temptation, hatred and revenge, all in the length of 1 hour and 35 minutes of the movie.
Morlang may not be the kind of thriller movie we are used to, but it brings out an aspect of human nature that we are aware of, but do not accept it downright. Tjebbo Penning has given us something that is intellectually powerful, entertaining and as well as something to think back on.