Review by Dan Skip Allen
Rebecca Hall had been a successful actress in films such as The Night House, The Town, and Christine, and more recently, a director for Passing on Netflix. Her career has spanned a decade and a half, but I don't think her latest film, Resurrection, is like anything she's done before. She had to go to crazy lengths to make this character seem unhinged.
Margaret (Rebecca Hall) is a successful businesswoman, mother, and all-around capable person. Her life is in pretty good order until someone from her past comes back into her life, turning it on end. Everything she thought she knew about her life changes in a blink of an eye. Her daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman), her lover Peter (Michael Esper), and a co-worker who she's mentoring, Gwyn (Angela Carbone), are all concerned about this recent change in her demeanor and way of being.
This film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival to a lukewarm response. With Hall's previous films under her belt, it's pretty clear she was going for the touchdown with this performance. She was beside herself, unable to convince her family and friends she wasn't insane or crazy. Other actors have done similar types of roles, so Hall wasn't doing anything new with this character. The thing is, she did do something that kept the audience engaged because there is a twist in the plot which I will not reveal. She gives it her all, but I don't think it entirely works in the context of the film.
Writer/Director Andrew Semans is a relatively new filmmaker with only three films under his belt. This film and script felt like he lost his focus and didn't know where to go, and it ended up going in a crazy direction. He does get the cast to buy into his idea of what he's going for, and like Rebecca Hall, the rest of the cast, including Tim Roth, give it their best. Roth is good at being a little wild and crazy, and what the script gives him helps him do just that. It seemed he was in a different film altogether than Hall, which was odd to me.
A psychological thriller can do a lot to get the audience involved, or it sometimes can turn an audience off. In this film, the odd script decisions and acting performances completely turned me off. This story was weird and all over the place, and the direction seemed to follow it. Yes, I know this was meant to be a woman who sees things that weren't there, but it didn't work as well as The Sixth Sense or other films that were trying a similar type of thing.
Resurrection tried to do something different with the psychological thriller genre, but it didn't work for me. Hall, Roth, and the rest of the cast try their best to make their performances engaging and interesting, but they come off as odd in the end. I'm sure a more seasoned writer/director than Semans could have done more with this story and film. It's sad to see Hall, Roth, and others wasted this way. There is always a next time for everybody involved. Let's hope whatever they do next is better than this film.
Resurrection hits theaters on July 29 and VOD on August 5.