cinema · EIFF22

Film review: Resurrection

 Off the back of her leading role in haunting horror The Night House a couple of years ago, Rebecca Hall finds herself at the centre of another tense mystery in Resurrection, written and directed by Andrew Semans. From the outside looking in, Margaret (Hall) very much has her life together, excelling in a high-powered job at a pharmaceutical company and raising her teenage daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman) to share the same strong values and success. However, when she spots David (Tim Roth) at a conference, she begins to spiral out of control as her dark past catches up with her.

 This might not sound like a wholly original premise, but the way in which the film suspense sets it apart from your average psychodrama. A stylish opening act establishes Margaret as a very commanding presence, all power-suits, preparation, and presentation…even her jog is a sprint. This makes her gradual unravelling all the more impactful, and Semans uses his lens brilliantly in illustrating the sheer panic setting in once she encounters the film’s manipulative antagonist. A brightly lit scene in a shopping mall is particularly gripping, with Jim William’s palpitating score going into overdrive to amplify the intensity. As the plot develops, the genre shifts from thriller into shock horror and while the ambiguous final act might leave some bewildered, it will certainly leave a lasting impression.

 Typified by a beautifully written, emotionally-charged monologue delivered around the halfway mark, it’s a terrific performance from Rebecca Hall. Every ounce of Margaret’s anxiety and dread comes through in her expression, and her physicality transforms from the confident go-getter we’re first met with into a nervous wreck. Her frenzied demeanour works well against Tim Roth’s coolly menacing portrayal. David cruelly gaslights behind a smile that taps into the obstruse nature of the thematic storytelling.

 Illustrating a skilful flair for crafting suspense, director Andrew Semans manages to display deft control of his protagonist as she loses grip of her sanity. Resurrection marks a striking sophomore effort, elevated by a transfixing turn by Rebecca Hall.

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