REVIEW: RESURRECTION

  • Director: Andrew Semans
  • Writer: Andrew Semans
  • Stars: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, Grace Kaufman

REVIEW

Resurrection shows the corrosive effect that an abusive partner can have even after escaping that relationship. Margaret (Hall) is shown straight from the first minute that she is in control. In control of her life, her job, and she has it that sorted out that she is giving advice to a younger co-worker in a terrible relationship herself. She has a fuck buddy in a married co-worker and is happy to just leave it as that. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Abbie (Kaufman) is a good kid, smart and nearing the time where she may end up leaving home for college or adventure. However, this seemingly strong woman is rocked by the reappearance of her abusive ex-partner David (Roth). The moment she sees him, everything comes flooding in, and the facade of control breaks and shatters, leaving Margaret having to handle all the trauma that lay unresolved in her body.

The reveal of Margaret’s past relationship with David is told straight to the camera and is harrowing at first and then gets progressively weirder to the point that it is hard to believe. This however solidifies David as an instant threat and whether you go along with Margaret’s story or not, it leaves no doubt as to the depth of Margaret’s trauma and her frighteningly fast spiral into paranoia and fear. It sets up what is to come, and when the third act arrives, you are ready for anything, except perhaps where the film ends up.

Rebecca Hall is phenomenal. She sets up Margaret in such a way in the first fifteen that you believe the paranoia, the fear, the crazy story. In lesser hands, the early handling of Margaret could’ve probably derailed the film, but in Hall’s, you are instantly drawn to her. Roth is and always has been outstanding. Roth’s demeanour here makes him absolutely terrifying, even when he starts to mention the outlandish things he has allegedly done, but the audience knows what Margaret knows, and the outlandish seems menancing. Roth’s David asserts himself over Margaret from the get-go, just like their relationship never ended. To round it out, Kaufman is fantastic as Abbie. Going from a relatively worry-free kid to anxiety ridden over what is happening to her mother. It’s nicely nuanced early on, and it complements Hall’s performance.

Semans writing is the wildest part of the film. It grounds itself in the real world and then hits us with a crazy idea and then runs with it. The pacing is good, and he manages to keep it humming until the third act finale, which goes bonkers but delivers on its earlier promise. Semans directs the film well, the early scenes are all very clincal and clean, and it gets a bit more erratic as the film progresses.

Some may not like the ending, but as a metaphor, it works. Resurrection risks squandering its brillant beginning, but Hall carries the film through to the end. Resurrection is worth seeing purely for Hall’s performance. However, the left turn the film makes and then doubles down on makes this complusive viewing.

Resurrection is available in Australia on Digital from November 30, 2022.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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