On the surface, Marmalade could be just another love story, just another Bonnie & Clyde-esque scenario but something more complex lurks below the surface.
Finding himself captured and thrown in prison, naïve Baron strikes up a tentative deal with his cell mate Otis who has bragged about being able to escape. As they formulate a plan, Baron recounts his life story and most importantly how he met the love of his life, the enigmatic Marmalade. He tells Otis of how they robbed a bank in order help his sick mother and have enough to start their new lives together. But all is not quite what it seems in the prison or in Baron's story.
It would be very easy to right off Marmalade as a lovers turned robbers on the run story but thankfully, it becomes a very different kind of beast. We are set up to believe that our ‘dumb as hell' hero Baron has been caught up with something far bigger than anything his small-town mind could ever have imagined. Marmalade enters his life like from a dream, driving a cinematic car and dressed like a ready-made manic pixie dream girl. Of course, as he reminisces their love story and their desperate actions to help pay for life saving medication for his mother, there is tinge of superficiality to everything he says. Using the old trick of starting with the end, the film plays out similarly to a film noir but with bright sunshine and a pink haired femme fatale. When there are criminal lovers involved, you do end up waiting for something to go wrong. But with this love story, there are non-stop surprises. Some of the plot turns are cleverly embedded clues others expected story beats you'd find in this genre of film. Most pleasing about all of this, is that you won't expect what happens next.
The cast also need some recognition in creating such an absorbing story. Aldis Hodge as Otis is entertaining in his dual role, without giving too much away. With this much focus on the two lovers, there has to be fantastic chemistry, which Joe Keery and Camila Morrone fall effortlessly into. Morrone comes across as incredibly comfortable as Marmalade, while Keery, even though he plays a timid character looks like he's having a lot of fun, even during the more emotional moments. Aldis Hodge as Otis makes up the trio and is very entertaining in his dual role, without giving too much away.
Marmalade is a surprisingly compelling story, with many twists and turns, an unexpected delight. There are the usual genre beats to hit but don't be fooled by these as they conclude into a very fun third act. Remember, its all about the little details.
Signature Entertainment presents Marmalade on Digital Platforms 12th February