The “resurrection” is far too desperate to shock us

In writer/director Andrew Semans’ “Resurrection” (2022), Rebecca Hall plays Margaret, a successful single mother in a business.

Margaret’s affair with a colleague and her relationship with her daughter are the factors she seeks to control outside working hours. Suddenly, the appearance of David (Tim Roth), a presence from her past, strikes fear into Margaret and puts her in a constant state of unease.

Margaret was already telling her daughter not to leave their apartment without her approval. Now Margaret aims to keep her teenage daughter in custody, as long as David is near them.

Is David really the former stalker claimed by Margaret? Is there anything else she doesn’t tell her daughter?

“Resurrection” begins as a psychological thriller, building tension not only by the growing presence of the former possible stalker, but also by the question of how much we can trust what we see.

Is Margaret losing her mind? Has her traumatic past made her an unreliable witness to the events we are watching unfold?

Hall is still outstanding, but it’s yet another off-putting, underdeveloped vehicle (like “Christine” and “The Night House”) where her work dominates the storyline.

As an actress, Hall is fearless, authentic, and often breathtaking in her choices. Watch her here, where she sees Roth for the first time – so many emotions are written on her face, so much more than just fear.

Much of the first act reminded me of Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant” (1976), which is not only about an apartment dweller whose sanity fails due to outside forces, but also features the similar detail of an unexplained tooth.

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Much of “Resurrection” feels like a storyline constructed to grab attention, rather than actually earn it. Hall’s big scene is her confession to a colleague, in which she vividly explains all the horrors of her previous encounters with David.

It’s heartbreaking to listen to, and Hall nails the timing and emotional goodness that the scene requires. You can also feel how the scene was designed. It’s an actor’s setting, probably written to draw attention to a performer who felt fit for such a moment.

The elegant way in which it was shot and the unnecessary secondary character who hears the monologue underscore how aware the film is of its “Oscar moment”.

At the start, there’s a scene where a character is having a nightmare about putting a baby in an oven. That’s the level this movie operates on – by trying so hard to shock us, “Resurrection” almost manages to mask how predictable and hopeless it is.

The end is awful, a series of not terribly surprising but disappointing sequences; it’s not hard to guess where this is going and where it will end.

The unfortunate thing is that, taken as a subtext or a metaphor, the ending gives the harasser far more power than the victim. What a lousy way to end a movie.

The gory ending is so much harder to accept than anything in David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” who explored its imagery in a measured and thoughtful way.

The conclusion of “Resurrection” is revolting and, like the monologue mentioned earlier, attention is drawn in the worst possible way.

From top to bottom, “Resurrection” kept my interest and respect because of the actors. Yet what begins as grueling and heartbreaking settles for an ambiguous, art-and-home-ready ending that doesn’t punish the audience as much as it punishes itself.

Of Hall’s recent release, I actually liked “Godzilla Vs. Kong” so much more, and that one had a better ending!

One and a half star

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