Review by Jude Felton
Films like Resolution must be a nightmare for PR companies to sell. Films like this don’t fall easily into any one genre, or sub-genre, instead taking elements from several to deliver a unique movie. For me, personally speaking, this is an absolute joy as I can watch the film having no idea where it is going, what’s going to happen or indeed how it will all end up. Resolution is one such film.
The plot of the films follows the fairly straightforward premise of Michael, a young married man, who receives what he thinks is a message from an old friend, Chris. Michael heads on out into the middle of nowhere, where Chris lives, not quite prepared for the insanity that is his old friend. Put quite simply; Chris is a couple of bricks short of a madhouse. This is due, in part, to Chris’ addiction to drugs, and Michael takes it upon himself to rehabilitate Chris, cold turkey style.
Whilst all this is going on the two former friends receive several strange visitors to their isolated abode, but it is when they discover various recording devices that things get really weird. To reveal the extent of the weirdness would be to take away from the suspense of Resolution, suffice to say the further the film moves forward, the creepier it gets.
Throughout the entire running time of Resolution there is always a sense of unease and dread. You won’t be able to put your finger on it to begin with, but it will become more pronounced and obvious as the film progresses. Even with that in mind though this is not the sort of film that is going to give you all the answers to the many questions it poses. In that regard I highly commend the directing team of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson (who also wrote it), as they unravel a simple character driven tale, that on first glance doesn’t really go anywhere, yet scratch below the surface and there are dark deeds afoot.
That really is what Resolution is; a tale of two characters that doesn’t follow the traditional story arch. Yes, there is a beginning, middle and end, but the journey there will frustrate as many viewers as it makes happy. The lack of explanation might seem to be lazy filmmaking to some, especially the ending, yet I counter that by saying it is lazy viewing. There is plenty here to sink your teeth into, and it is a film that demands you interpret the events portrayed onscreen. Is it the drugs? Are they crazy? Is there something more sinister at play? Clues are given and it is up to you on how you interpret them.
The style in which the film is shot also plays into the script itself, with certain parts asking you whether you are watching a film, or whether you are part of the film itself. It really is quite engrossing and challenging viewing, and I loved it. The wonderful sense of dread, which finally manifests itself in flat-out fear, is wonderfully crafted and helped no end by the central performances of Peter Cilella, as Michael, and Vinny Curran, as Chris.
The film itself is certainly not going to appeal to everyone, of that I am certain, as the lack of finality and explanation will confuse and frustrate some viewers. However, I know that there are folk out there that will lap this up, as I did, and then ponder the events long after the film finishes.
Is it a horror film? Yes it is. It might skirt around the peripheries of the genre and not deliver horror in the traditional sense, but it is still horror. It’s also a drama, a comedy, a conspiracy thriller and much more. Or, you could just say that it’s a buddy flick told through the point of view of the drugs and withdrawal. Make your own mind up when you watch it, and watch it you should. Films like this don’t come along as often as they should, and when they do they should be embraced for delivery such an original premise.
In terms of plot Resolution has very little in common with Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, but their approach to adding something new to the horror genre is very similar. Both could be called horror films, but both take a unique approach to delivering the goods.
Resolution is a film that I plan on revisiting very soon. I thought it was absolutely terrific and already one of my favorite films of the year.
Resolution is currently available on VOD and is released by Tribeca Film.