In writer/ director Andrew Semans’ “Resurrection” (2022), Rebecca Hall stars as Margaret, a single mother with a successful corporate job.
Margaret’s affair with a colleague and her relationship with her daughter are the factors she aims to keep controlled outside of work hours. Suddenly, the appearance of David (Tim Roth), a presence from her past, creates terror in Margaret and puts her in a constant state of unease.
Margaret was already telling her daughter to not leave their apartment without her approval. Now, Margaret aims to keep her teen daughter on lockdown, as long as David is anywhere near them.
Is David really the former stalker that Margaret claims? Is there something else she’s not telling her daughter?
“Resurrection” begins as a psychological thriller, builds tension through not only the escalating presence of the possible former stalker but also over the question of how much of what we’re seeing we can trust.
Is Margaret losing her mind? Has her traumatic past made her an unreliable witness to the events we’re watching transpire?
Hall is always exceptional, but this is yet another off-putting, underdeveloped vehicle (like “Christine” and “The Night House”) where her work towers over the screenplay.
As an actress, Hall is fearless, authentic, and frequently breathtaking in her choices. Just watch her here, where she sees Roth for the first time – so many emotions register on her face, far more than merely fear.
Much of the first act reminded me of Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant” (1976), which is not only about a single apartment dweller whose sanity unwinds due to outside forces, but also features the similar detail of an unexplained tooth.
Much of “Resurrection” feels like a screenplay constructed to attract attention, rather than truly earning it. Hall’s big scene is her confession to a co-worker, in which she vividly explains all the horrors of her prior encounters with David.
It’s harrowing to listen to, and Hall nails the timing and well of emotions the scene requires. You can also sense how the scene has been contrived. It’s an actor’s set piece, likely written to draw attention to a performer who felt up for such a moment.
The stylish way in which it’s been shot, and the needless side character who hears the monolog, underline how the movie is aware of its “Oscar moment.”
Early on, there’s a scene where a character has a nightmare about putting a baby in an oven. That’s the level this movie is operating on – by trying so hard to shock us, “Resurrection” almost succeeds in masking how predictable and desperate it is.
Sundance Thriller “Resurrection” Comes to the US July 29 – IFC Films’ psychodrama “Resurrection” has been scheduled for US release..and it’s sure to take you on a wild ride.https://t.co/pV26YnaflU
— GreenSlate (@thisisgslate) July 19, 2022
The ending is awful, a series of sequences that aren’t terribly surprising but disappointing; it’s not hard to guess where this is going and or how it will end up.
What’s unfortunate is that, if taken as subtext or metaphor, the ending gives power to the stalker far more than the victim. What a rotten way to end a film.
The gory ending is so much harder to take than anything in David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” which explored its imagery in a measured, thoughtful manner.
The conclusion of “Resurrection” is revolting and, like the monologue mentioned earlier, attention getting in the worst way.
From top to bottom, “Resurrection” maintained my interest and respect because of the actors. Yet, what begins as grueling and stomach-churning settles for an ambiguous, art house-ready ending that doesn’t punish the audience as much as itself.
Of Hall’s recent output, I actually preferred “Godzilla Vs. Kong” so much more, and that one had a better ending!
One and a Half Stars