"An unsettling and uncompromising feature and one that has been unfairly overlooked at the Oscar's this year..."

If you can manage to untangle your tongue, going to a cinema's box office and asking for 'a ticket to Martha Marcy May Marlene please' may just be one of the wiser moves you can make this month.

Elizabeth Olsen plays Martha, a fragile and damaged woman, fleeing a detrimental cult and attempting to reconnect with her family whilst suffering from torturing memories from her time at the harrowing place.

Martha - affectionately named Marcy May by her cult leader Patrick (John Hawkes), moves in with her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). However, despite the hospitable accommodation provided by Lucy, Martha can't shake off the memories from the cult - the pacifying manipulation, the undesired losing of her virginity and the unnerving insanity of her former peers - and such memories form an ineluctable and increasing paranoia as she struggles to adapt to normal life and civilisation.

Sean Durkin's debut feature is an eerie and chilling indie drama, and one that certainly sticks with you. It's not what you see necessarily, but the thoughts provoked, with haunting lines from Martha's flashbacks such as "he doesn't have boys", in regards to the children Patrick has with his emotionally enervated and vulnerable followers. It's subtle lines such as this which lead to a series of thoughts and questions. What happens to the young girls who become pregnant with a baby girl? And what happens to the babies?

It's a brave piece of filmmaking by Durkin, testing the boundaries of film in a provocative debut. The film is wonderfully shot, with close-up shots of Martha highlighting her emotional sufferance, and a series of long-shots symbolising her solitude in the modern world. The use of sound is also affecting and stirring, used sparingly but terrifically. When implemented, the music matches the nature of the film within its intensity, most evident when Martha suffers from a bout of paranoia at a house party staged by Lucy and Ted, where the music is suspenseful and deafening, seemingly building up towards a potentially momentous climax.

The story is told through Martha's perception, which given her emotional state, is a somewhat temperamental and undependable form of narration. As the viewer you too suffer from the uncertainty of what is real and what's not, as it becomes increasingly difficult to tell what is reality and what is a flashback. Such intertwining is implemented smartly by Durkin, connecting her past with the present day. For example, whilst sleeping you see a hand placed on Martha's thigh - but is it Lucy, merely reconciling her younger sister? Or is it a flashback of Patrick's hand? Such tentativeness towards each innocent situation leads to the audience suffering from the same psychosis that Martha is going through.

For the audience to feel a connection between themselves and Martha and to sympathise with her fragility, much is dependant on the performance of the young actress, in what is her debut feature film. The younger sister of the Olsen Twins (remember them?) puts in a stunning performance, capturing the vulnerability of Martha, yet portraying a palpable distinction between such a character and the more confident 'Marcy May' she was formerly.

Hawkes is also terrific as Patrick, putting in a chilling performance, seeming so composed and reassuring, yet displaying a nasty streak and one that makes his role as the manipulative leader seem entirely plausible, making it believable for one man to indoctrinate and brainwash so many young, defenceless people who see him as some sort of preacher.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is an unsettling and uncompromising feature and one that has been unfairly overlooked at the Oscar's this year, especially with the exclusion of Olsen who should be rewarded with at least a nomination for her efforts. Yet aside from all the film's redeeming features, the title is still somewhat of an annoyance, despite being a signifier and depiction of Martha's lack of individuality, as she bears a host of different names, making it difficult to identify her at all.