There are very few actors with Rebecca Hall’s knack for making difficult, even contradictory, characters seem plausible. So it’s enough to say that even his knack for the dignified and intelligent depiction of mental and behavioral instability meets its waterloo with Andrew Semans’ “Resurrection,” a psychological thriller that starts out promisingly before veering off in earnest. (and sadly serious in itself) mental disorder. It ends several stops north of Loco, in a finale that hints at transgressive, psychobiological role reversal, but plays like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1994 “junior” comedy with a torture porn makeover.
Initially, Margaret (Hall) is an aspirational figure. With a glass-walled office at her lucrative pharmaceutical job, a well-appointed apartment, and intimate but no-strings-attached sex-on-demand with married co-worker Peter (Michael Esper), she’s also a doting mother of 17. old abbie (grace kaufman), who is about to leave for college. (On one level, “resurrection” can be read as the mother of all empty nest breakouts.) In fact, she’s so close that she presents us with her no-nonsense and tough-love advice for inexperienced intern Gwyn (Angela Wong Carbone), whose boyfriend belittles her, then teases that she can’t take a joke when she complains. “Sadists never understand why other people don’t enjoy their sadism as much as they do,” Margaret says, firmly but gently encouraging Gwyn to fight back.
Perhaps the jump to “sadism” seems premature, although we will soon discover that she knows what she is talking about. Still, the exchange establishes Margaret’s no-nonsense credentials as a strong and admirably supportive woman. So what if she’s a little overprotective of grace, she’s never allowed her to ride a bike and she insists on constant checkups? So what if she blurts out the weird biting homily about toughness and self-sufficiency and she seems mildly mocking weakness? otherwise, she is a pride and an inspiration to the sisterhood.
but the omens are piling up. Margaret has drawn again for the first time in 22 years. abbie discovers a human molar in her wallet one day. Then, at a conference, Margaret sees David (Tim Roth), a man she hasn’t seen in two decades, since he escaped the monstrously manipulative clutches of a relationship “Toxic” doesn’t even begin to cover. he immediately has a full-blown panic attack. Suddenly, he’s everywhere, and when she finally musters up the courage to face him, her hideous smile shows that she’s missing a tooth.
This is a solid #metoo suspense setting, ranked by Roth’s ever-elegant salon and sinister performance, by Wyatt Garfield’s grimly elegant shooting style, and by the prickly strings of Jim Williams’ haunting score. But then the exact nature of David and Margaret’s long-standing relationship is revealed, in a seven-minute monologue delivered by Hall in uninterrupted close-up: a distracting acting exercise treated with the dramatic reverence of a “cherry” speech. garden”, despite the madness of his revelations. In one of the very rare instances of an identifiable reaction, Margaret’s convenient confidante Gwyn stammers, “Is this a joke?” before staggering away, no doubt making the “she’s crazy” hand gesture as she rounds the corner.
It’s not a joke. Nothing is a joke in “Resurrection,” which is so serious about commissioning its increasingly wacky plot that all the craziness can’t even be said to be that entertaining, apart from the weird surreal imagery. (There is, to be fair, a grotesquely convincing baby roast.) You can see how this same stuff could turn into a pleasingly creepy horror in other hands. but semans, directing from his own blacklisted edited script, strives for importance and topicality, relevancy of trauma survivors, even though margaret’s rape amounts to cult brainwashing so severe that it is genuinely difficult to relate to and impossible to see how she could have suppressed her psychotic and delusional influence so successfully for so long.
makes margaret a dubious avatar at best for survivors of abuse, despite the best efforts of the script to turn her into a vengeful virago. “Men! You can’t stick your dick in anything without deciding whether you love it or hate it,” he growls at the hapless peter, in a sequence framed as a memorable moment that will have women high fives of acknowledgment and men wincing. from having been so exposed. the problem is that, like a lot of the remarks about men’s toxicity, it only sounds terse. if you think about it halfway, it seems to be a recommendation that men put their penises in in things that are indifferent to them, which is a strange thing to wish for.
Similarly, the theme of maternal self-sacrifice receives little justice for the earnest expression of gothic melodrama lines like, “when you have children of your own, you’ll understand… you become disposable.” gloriously disposable.” everyone is terribly engaged and there are a handful of memorable moments. However, the manic and confusing “resurrection” serves primarily as a reminder that if you’re looking for a sundance movie in which a psychologically disintegrating rebecca hall is convincingly threatened by specters of past guilt and trauma , the underrated “night” last year. house” is available to stream right now.