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{Sundance} Resurrection – First Look Review

January 27, 2022

Rebecca Hall in Resurrection Courtesy of Sundance FF

Rebecca Hall is the captivating star of Resurrectiona messy, uneven thriller that ends up being too deranged for its own good.

Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, writer and director Andrew Semans’ latest film is a horror-tinged story about suppressed trauma carried entirely by Hall’s masterful turn as Margaret.

Sleek bob and impeccable power suits, the protagonist has her whole life in order: she jogs religiously, excels at her corporate work, and casts her spell over her ever-available married lover, Peter (Michael Esper). But this type of boss female dog, giving sound advice on confronting toxic boyfriends, has a weakness, cracking her cold, aloof veneer. It is her teenage daughter, Abbie (Grace Kaufman), whom Margaret tries to control to the point of smothering her.

While it may seem like Hall’s character is hyper-protective of Abbie due to her controlling nature, it soon becomes clear that something much darker lurks beneath the no-nonsense image the leader strives for. to project.

Resurrection cracks Margaret’s perfect surface

In ResurrectionMargaret’s seemingly perfect existence begins to unravel as she spots a menacing figure from her mysterious past. Anticipated by inexplicable and supernatural events, her former lover, David Moore, returns as a chilling Tim Roth.

Suddenly, David is at a conference Margaret is attending, in a park, and other public places just as the protagonist is there. It’s a subtle form of harassment, which Margaret can’t prove to the local authorities, as the scene with a police officer perfectly illustrates. They can’t do much unless David overtly threatens her, the cop says, implicitly admitting that protecting and serving doesn’t go very far.

Margaret has to take matters into her own hands, more and more trembling. David’s ominous smile contradicts his kind words and sends the protagonist into an unusual frenzy of panic, which threatens to upend her relationships and career.

In particular, the protagonist becomes aggressively concerned for Abbie’s safety, though she offers no explanation for her obsessive attitude. Her silence only manages to tear their mother-daughter bond apart weeks before Abbie leaves for college, metaphorically severing that umbilical cord that Margaret wants to preserve.

Rebecca Hall door the resurrection on his shoulders

At first obscure, the reasons why the protagonist is terrified of David – and rightly so – are laid out in a cold and compelling eight-minute monologue. In a conversation with a young intern, Margaret recuperates in her pent-up pain from a lifetime ago, a stunning scene that confirms Hall’s dedication to the role.

The audience learns that an older David charmed an 18-year-old Margaret into an abusive and sadistic relationship decades earlier. Their lopsided dynamic saw David bend the young woman’s will into doing terrible things.

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Without indulging in spoilers – and depriving viewers of the perverse pleasure of experiencing the most screwed-up twist on Resurrection – the film focuses on Margaret as she displays alarmingly erratic behavior. She’s a pure concentrate of anger, both directed at David and his past, but she’s also not completely immune to her ex’s uncanny magnetism, giving in to his soothing words with self-destructive consequences.

This coercive relationship that has come back to haunt her sends Margaret spiraling as she begins to suffer from panic attacks, and yet she still gives David the time of day. She is alone, after the police let her down. Their unhelpful response shows a lack of knowledge of abusive relationships, with the abuser often wrapping his despicable actions in layers of charms.

One Confusing third act

Like other enigmatic thrillers, Resurrection also puts its protagonist’s sanity on the line. The story unfolds as Margaret descends into the abyss and leaves behind her studied perfection, the frenetic camera work reflecting her inner turmoil pushing to come out.

Hall plays the character with such intensity and commitment that she is able to sell a flimsy film about abuse and unaddressed trauma. The film feels like a disjointed study of grief that is difficult to piece together. While the public is privy to Margaret’s secrets, Resurrection gets darker, darker, and wilder, making for a restless watch that’s hard to sit down.

It’s not for everyone, and it may take more than one watch to get the themes simmering. The final showdown is particularly confusing, giving way to several theories that may all be equally true, as long as one still cares at this point. The third act doesn’t wrap up all the loose threads, but only manages to complicate things further in a difficult and shocking final scene that’s equally chilling and confusing.

Hall’s powerful performance glues this ambitious, but not always effective experience. His is a fascinating, career-best turn that will be hard to shake off. Resurrectionon the other hand, may be too ambiguous for some to fully appreciate.

Stefania Sarrubba

Stefania Sarrubba is a feminist entertainment writer based in London, UK. Traumatized from a young age by Tim Curry and Dario Argento’s Pennywise films, she grew up convinced that horror wasn’t her thing. Until she gets into cannibal films with a female protagonist. Yum.

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