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Resurrecting and Running Time
R for Resurrection
At the very least, Resurrection is the best movie to come out in a 365 day period with the word “Resurrection” in the title as it’s infinitely better than the stillborn Matrix Resurrections that came out last December to the sound of indifference. Clocking in at just under 100 minutes long, Resurrection feels about 2 hours shorter than Matrix 4: Please No More.
Speaking of stillborn, after seeing the wacky WTF-edness of Resurrection, you wonder why this wasn’t released during Mother’s Day weekend because Rebecca Hall plays one of the worst best movie moms of the 2000s. You thought your mom was overprotective and helicopter-y.
Synopsis Brought Back From The Dead
Margaret (Rebecca Hall, Godzilla Vs. Kong) is a single working mom and she works hard for her money. It looks like she works in the biotech industry because she uses terms like “gene splicing” and “genome” and “cells” and everyone else in the room nods like Margaret knows what she’s talking about.
Margaret has a spunky teenage daughter named Abbie (Grace Kaufman) who’s about to turn 18 and can’t stop telling her mom that she’s about to turn 18. Abbie plays video games and hangs out with her friend Lucy (Tom Cruise). She’s your typical teenage girl except she has Margaret for a mom. It’s actually a small miracle that Abbie’s as well adjusted as she is considering, well, Margaret.
Where’s dad, you might ask. No one knows. Margaret doesn’t need a man in her life but does occasionally use her married coworker Peter (Michael Esper) as a f*ck buddy whenever she needs some Vitamin D. You know, to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus.
Otherwise it’s Margaret and Abbie against the world.
Margaret is pretty guarded. You can sense she’s working through some personal trauma that won’t be revealed until after the first act. You also sense that Abbie is one step away from leaving her mom even there’s a lot of love between them. Mom is just too f*cked up sometimes.
You have no idea.
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At what looks like the Super Bowl of Gene Mapping conferences where everyone is staring at someone with an overhead projector like they’re in high school in 1993, Margaret thinks she sees someone she recognizes. She freaks the f*ck out, bolts out of the really stimulating conference and runs all the way home. She missed the best part.
We all know lonely white men can be terrifying at times, but this particular white man seems to mean something to Margaret. She’s turning her overprotectiveness up yet another level, much to the Abbie’s glee and delight because there’s nothing almost-18 year old near adults love doing more than being smothered by their white tiger mom.
Later that week or the very next day, Maggie sees the same man on the bench just minding his business in a public place. She accosts him and calls him David. David is played by Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) so you can attest to his level of creep. The man says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Maggie calls him an MF-er and tells him to leave her and Abbie alone. Man says it’s his right to be in a public bench…
Then acknowledges that he is indeed who she says he is (“Ben is with me”). With these cryptic words, Margaret’s week has gone from bad to very bad and it’s probably going to get worse.
It turns out that Maggie and David have shared history together, among other things. They haven’t seen each other in 22 years. They were involved when Maggie was just 18 and David was in his late 30s. Those always work out. David’s come back for a reason, and all the abuse that Maggie suffered under David’s iron thumbs is erupting to the surface.
Now no one is safe. Including Abbie. Especially Maggie. Maggie’s grown up a lot in the past two decades, but even she might not be prepared for this.
What Works With Resurrection
- After delivering a haunting performance in 2020’s excellent The Night House, Rebecca Hall runs the gamut of out-there emotions as the possibly unstable/possibly justified Margaret. Hall is fearless and without vanity as you can never really get a handle on the Margaret’s level of f*cked-up-edness but Hall makes every moment frighteningly real. Hall isn’t afraid to make Margaret unlikable, to make you feel sorry for Abbie. Hall owns every frame of Resurrection, down to the evocative final shot.
- Rebecca Hall should get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. If she does you can bet her Oscar clip will be from the 8-minute monologue Hall delivers about…stuff. A scene like that can call attention to itself at the detriment of the film because it feels like a director is showing off, but because Hall delivers it so well, it also gives the audience a chance to reset and breathe again before the movie restarts to mayhem. It’s a monologue sure to be copied by college actors again and again.
- Tim Roth is reliably unnerving as David. You’ve seen Roth play numerous villains before, but an older Roth brings a sad desperation to David. You can understand want David wants from Margaret even if you abhor it.
- The what-the-f*ckery of the final scenes. Someone could tell you out of context what happens in the last 10 minutes of the movie and you still might not believe it until you see it. Credit writer/director Andrew Semans for a swing-for-the-fences ending that most won’t see coming. You might want to stop eating before the third act.
What Doesn’t Work With Resurrection
- A generic title for a horror movie that’s anything but generic.
Resurrection is one of the best psychological thrillers/horror movies of 2022. It’s as far from cookie-cutter horror as you can get anchored by Rebecca Hall’s electrifying performance. After you see Brad Pitt run a train on hired killers this weekend, chase it down with a movie that makes you feel like you’ve risen from the dead. Parental supervision encouraged. Just don't be so suffocating, Mom.
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© 2022 Noel Penaflor