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The Connection

‘The Marsh King’s Daughter’ shows promise but drags in execution

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“The Marsh King’s Daughter” was released on Nov. 3. Daisy Ridley stars as Helena, who has to face her dark past after her father Jacob (Ben Mendelsohn) escapes from prison.

“The Marsh King’s Daughter” was released on Nov. 3 in select cities and showed a lot of promise with its premise as a psychological thriller.

Based on the 2017 novel of the same written by Karen Dionne, the plot involves Helena Holbrook, played by Daisy Ridley, best known for portraying Rey in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy.

Holbrook wants to escape her past when her father Jacob, played by Ben Mendelsohn, best known for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” escapes from prison and she now has to face her past.

According to the Internet Movie Database, the film originally had Norwegian director Morten Tyldum attached to direct and Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander to star as Helena.

However, the project never went past the developmental stages and Tyldum and Vikander both dropped out of the project, according to the IMDB trivia page. Ultimately, Neil Burger directed and Ridley was given the starring role.

The film begins with a young Helena, played by child actress Brooklynn Prince, and Jacob having a strong bond until realizes that her mother was a kidnapping victim and she sees her father for who he is. It then jumps ahead two decades as Helena tries to bury her past but gets questioned for things like tattoos she had gotten as a child.

“Marsh King” has a good premise, given that it has elements of a character-study to look into Helena’s psyche, along with people around her, like her husband, daughter and stepfather, with whom she maintained a relationship, and some friends of hers. It also touched on her personal life and how issues with her past affected her.

The cinematography and location shots were done well. It was shot in Ontario, Canada but it was set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to a review from the Roger Ebert website.

The actors also did well in their performances, especially Ridley, who is British, as she pulled off an American accent and was believable in playing a paranoid character.

The climactic final scene worked well as it provided suspense and action without feeling like it bended genres in that moment.

There were some issues with the film’s execution. As noted before, the piece is a character-study, so it delved into the perspectives of Helena, but it dragged scenes out and could have explored her relationship with her father more. Not that it needed extra scenes because the film ran at 108 minutes, but it could have had more with the story instead focusing on Helena’s issues.

At the end of the day, I found “The Marsh King” average to maybe slightly above average. It told a good story in different ways but there could have been more of a broader story told and fewer parts shown only regarding the main character.

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About the Contributor
Emanuel Espinoza
Emanuel Espinoza, Staff Writer
Emanuel Espinoza is a staff writer for the Connection newspaper. He joined the Connection to get back into journalism and to see about opening up more opportunities in that field. His goals are to gain more opportunities in the journalism field, do more with photography and wants to write for entertainment publications related to music, film and video games. He enjoys reading, going to the movie theater and other types of shows and is a fan of hip-hop.

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