Let Me Make You A Martyr (2017) Review
Let Me Make You A Martyr is a 2017 crime/drama about two adopted siblings who fall in love, and hatch a plan to kill their abusive father.
There’s not much joy in the world for those who in live in Corey Asraf and John Swab‘s Let Me Make You A Martyr, a bleak, desolate tale of suffering and revenge. It’s not a particularly original story, a grim, sometimes insufferable experience of human misery and debauchery that is relentless in its pursuits. This is a dark fable with plenty of ambition and all sorts of lurid characters, that weighs heavy but can’t quite put all its pieces together in the right order.
After a traumatic opening that pits a desperate, dishelveled man against a pair of hitmen, the story picks up, following a young troubled loner named Drew Glass (Niko Nicotera), back in town after a long absence, here to save his stepsister June (Sam Quartin) from their adoptive father Larry (Mark Boone Junior). Larry’s a bad man, a local crime lord and businessman who has pimped out June for years. Let’s just say he’s not too eager to give June up and more so, he’s not happy with Drew’s attempt to uproot his operation. Meanwhile, June finds herself responsible for a child called Roonie (Gracie Grenier), kidnapped by a drug kingpin who offed her family and stuffed her in a shed. With darkness closing in, Drew and June just want to escape, to be lovers together, free of their pasts, but they are being hunted.
Let Me Make You A Martyr is framed around a police interrogation, the film mostly flashbacks of Drew’s confessions of events that we only discover as they unfold in disjointed patterns. It’s an old narrative device we’ve seen plenty of times before and while it allows the story to spool out with some easy-to-follow structure, it breaks its own rules far too often, playing out moments that would seem to be well outside of Drew’s awareness. Lengthy scenes with June and Larry for example are moments he had no part of it and yet it is presented as if he is telling their story. There is meant to be a kind of mystery to why Drew’s been arrested, and while the film takes great pains to paint these people as fractured and pushed into tight corners, there is nearly no dynamic between he and the cop (Michael Potts), leaving these moments lifeless.
That’s not to say there’s not good in some of this. These are decidedly troubled characters and there’s not a bad performance among them. Despite the hopelessness of these people, there is a deep-seated heightened authenticity to the setting. This is Asraf’s and Swab’s feature length debut (they also co-wrote the screenplay) and they do best with their restraint, never taking Let Me Make You A Martyr to the expected hyperbolic moments the genre seems to demand these days. Violence is nearly always off screen and the action is rarely more than two people in conversation. This is a plus in many ways, their patience in several important moments paying off in surprising ways.
I haven’t mentioned Marilyn Manson yet, a name that is plastered on the marketing, his presence in the film one that might be reason enough for fans to give this a watch, though he is barely more than a cameo. Yes, he’s impressively intimidating and creates a menacing figure, but he’s hardly more than a spectre in the story. Nicotera is far more compelling and carries the film.
Let Me Make You A Martyr is a curious film, a light existential journey that might have you asking some questions, though whether they are worth asking will depend on how deeply it all really matters. That’s sort of the problem. It’s a good looking and satisfying story but it can’t separate itself from the pack, another gloomy, ironic tale that should have much more to say.
Let Me Make You A Martyr (2017) Review
Movie description: Let Me Make You A Martyr is a 2017 crime/drama about two adopted siblings who fall in love, and hatch a plan to kill their abusive father.
Director(s): Corey Asraf, John Swab
Actor(s): Marilyn Manson, Mark Boone Junior, Sam Quartin
Genre: Drama, Crime