This is a film that challenges the audience to plug into the story and stick with it. But if you do, it pays off with a portrait of a manipulative, dark character, one who continually surprises the viewer with his choices.
Despite its flaws, this should be seen by everyone as a cautionary tale of what could happen to an unsuspecting victim by a sinister cult leader bent on recruiting followers for whatever nefarious purposes he or she has in mind. Think of it as a cautionary tale.
How does a young woman allow a complete stranger access to her inner thoughts, giving him full sway over her feelings and actions? An interesting question brought vividly to life in the buzzed-about indie film Martha Marcy May Marlene.
How bad does your life have to get to surrender your being to the demands of a communal cult? How tentative does our grasp on our individual self need to be to give it up to the hive identity, led by one person's desires?
As the years go by, more producers and studios hear about that TIFF charm and send their films to the great white north. Sundance is too contemporary for the Hollywood award shows and Cannes is too early for all the films to be finished. That's why TIFF gets it all.