Marmalade seems to have a slow start that might bore certain viewers until the first plot twist. From that moment on, the movie is quick, witty, and full of twists and turns that will have you on the edge.
The truth is that Joe Keery does something completely different from what he has us used to, and it works perfectly. He manages to blow the audience’s mind away with his performance of Baron and the creation of Marmalade.
But he wouldn’t be able to surprise us if it weren’t for Camila Morrone’s Marmalade and Aldis Hodge’s undercover FBI agent, Otis.
The three of them make for the perfect cast to navigate the story and surprise the viewers with one plot twist after another.
When we first meet Marmalade, we can’t tell if we like her or not. Quickly, the audience comes to realize she is a master manipulator and can get Baron to do whatever she wants.
The fact that she calls him “Puppet” is an indicator that she is, in fact, in charge, and he will do anything she says. She is the master puppeteer, and that’s why the FBI is after her.
It is she who plans the robbery, the getaway, and where to hide. When Marmalade shows the list of things they must do before the robbery and announces them in Marmalade’s voice, the movie is confirming (or reaffirming) that she is the woman in charge, and Baron has no voice in this.
Marmalade seems to use her body and Baron’s attraction to get him on board with the plan and do as she says. Even when he seems to be ready to back out of the plan, the mention of a pregnancy gets him back on the road.
Marmalade controls Baron…or so it seems. The biggest plot twist of the movie comes when both the FBI and the audience find out that Baron had been working solo all along.
Marmalade‘s first plot twist happens when we find out Otis is actually an undercover FBI agent. So, there we are, thinking they caught Baron and will catch Marmalade soon after.
However, nothing is ever what it seems on Marmalade. The moment Baron arrives home and looks at the newspaper clippings, we know he has known all along that Otis was an FBI agent. He just used him to get out of prison.
That is when we come to realize that he had created Marmalade to get away with the robberies. In order to seem like a useless accomplice, he tells a story that makes him look like a helpless puppet.
In his story, Marmalade is in charge because that is what he needs the FBI to believe. By creating this narrative, he is guaranteeing his escape plan works, and no one will be able to catch him.
But even fiction has bits and pieces of reality, and that’s how Otis is able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. “Everything is a puzzle piece,” he says, and we realize that’s why Baron made his fake Marmalade have a puzzle tattoo on her neck.
Everything Baron has said points to why he decided to rob a bank. Marmalade’s personal story is actually his own.
He robs the bank where the owner of Baron Pharmaceutical had his money. The first thing we notice is they share the same name. But we quickly realize it is the company that makes his mother’s pills.
At the same time, as Otis begins to put the puzzle pieces together, we do too. The pharmaceutical company’s owner fosters kids and walks with a white cane.
He is the man who, in the story, abused Marmalade when she was under his care. It is safe to assume that Baron was actually the one in his care — which is shortly confirmed when the FBI shows up at his house and finds the cages in his garage.
In the end, Baron does everything for his mother. Marmalade becomes a critic of the big pharma industry that only cares about getting richer no matter who they hurt along the way.
Baron takes it upon himself to fight for his mom and against an industry that has made them feel worthless.
Besides its surprising plot twists, Marmalade does an amazing job at intertwining Baron’s story of meeting Marmalade and robbing the bank with his current situation of being imprisoned.
Both him and Otis make comments throughout the story that take us out of his narrative and remind us where we really are: in a prison cell. Every detail that Baron wants Otis to remember is highlighted in his narrative to trick him and therefore trick us.
That is what makes it a movie worth watching. If the beginning seems slow and boring, it is only to shock the audience with the plot twists and keep us second-guessing what is actually going to happen.
Marmalade is a story of plot twists that manages to redeem itself the moment we learn how smart Baron actually is.
What did you think of Marmalade? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Marmalade was written and directed by Keir O’Donnell.
Marmalade is available for purchase or rent on Amazon Prime.