Year of Release: 2012
Directors: Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
RATING: 4.5 / 5
I was going to post my review of Resolution as soon as I saw it (on Tuesday). Instead, I've been putting it off so that I can decide how I feel about the movie. Unfortunately, I'm still not too sure, and it doesn't seem like that is going to change. So, I'll just try to summarize my differing thoughts regarding Resolution and neither endorse it nor knock it.
But first, a little about the film. A guy receives a video on his laptop of his former best friend frolicking in a meadow high on crack, and a map to his location. He goes to check up on him and finds him unemployed, in a dilapidated house, almost dead from the drug. He takes it upon himself to stay in the house and help his friend kick the habit. While there, strange things start happening, weird people of all varieties populate the area, and mysterious photos and videos are left around by someone unseen for the protagonists to find. I won't go into any more detail because the movie is best approached without knowing much about it.
In terms of pure moviemaking abilities, these up and coming directors show tremendous talent. Resolution was one of the most finely-made indie movies I've seen in a long time. A bigger budget would have done absolutely nothing to improve on this film, as every idea it had was executed satisfactorily. Equally impressive are the actors who are natural and unpretentious in their approach to their roles. The two leads were fantastic and had the type of chemistry that real best friends have. I'm curious if they knew each other before the shoot. The crackhead in particular was so damn funny and likeable, he made me laugh almost continuously throughout. I also loved the French guy who lived in a trailer. Both the character and the actor himself were very intriguing.
So why am I conflicted about this film despite the amazing execution? Well, there is a duality between my brain and my gut. On paper, this movie is damn intelligent. The ending makes perfect sense given the film that came before it. All the weird happenings throughout support the ending 100%, revealing a lot but not enough to allow you to figure it out in the first hour. The idea was witty, and the directors presented it in pretty much the best way it could have been presented. The very final shots of the film are a total "AHA!" moment and all the things you've been guessing at throughout the film come together in a coherent conclusion.
The problem is that the whole premise requires that the movie cheats you in a way, probably because it was made for the sole purpose of this one gimmick. No matter how smart the concept is, the appreciation for it is not in itself enough to fully compensate for that cheated feeling. That's why, despite the logical and intellectual respect I have for it, my gut still urges me to feel like I've been wronged. If I get over this feeling one day, I would increase the rating I've given to Resolution. If I don't, I will still think fondly of the film as I did enjoy it while it was happening. Regardless, I'll definitely keep following these talented directors, the first newcomers to interest me in a LONG time, and see anything else they put out. I'm sure they will eventually deliver a genre-defining film that is more than a clever gimmick.
Edit: Over time, all of that cheated feeling has dissipated from my brain and in hindsight I see Resolution as a true genre cornerstone, so I'm updating my score to reflect that (original 3.5/5).
RATING: 4.5 / 5