By Betsy Sherman
What lifts Resurrection above the standard victim-becomes-avenger routine is a preposterous — in a wonderfully sick way — claim that gives the movie a welcome touch of giallo unpredictability.
Resurrection, directed by Andrew Semans. Screening April 29 at 9:30 pm at the Brattle Theatre as part of the Independent Film Festival Boston.
Rebecca Hall is the riveting central figure of Resurrection. She plays Margaret, a biotech executive in upstate New York, who seems to prize toughness above all else; it’s a value she tries to instill in her young female intern, as she has in the17-year-old daughter she’s raised by herself. Margaret has an athletic body, a sleek wardrobe, and a compartmentalized life that includes casual sex with a married colleague. While listening to a presentation at a conference, her eyes wander among the men in the room. When they take in the sight of a middle-aged gent, in a split second the distance between herself and a trauma from her youth collapses. She bolts from the room. Tim Roth plays David, the man she once loved, but who inflicted scars on her both physical and psychological. Margaret fears he’s come to prey on her daughter.
Director-writer Andrew Semans builds tension effectively, but what lifts Resurrection above the standard victim-becomes-avenger routine is a preposterous—in a wonderfully sick way—claim made by David, through which he can control Margaret. I wouldn’t dream of revealing what that is, but it gives the movie a welcome touch of giallo unpredictability. Is it supposed to be real, or a hallucination? Hall and Roth’s scenes together crackle, and it’s nice that they both get to speak in their British voices; it separates them into a little psychodramatic bubble within the American setting.
Betsy Sherman has written about movies, old and new, for the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, and Improper Bostonian, among others. She holds a degree in archives management from Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. When she grows up, she wants to be Barbara Stanwyck.