Friday, 26 October 2012

Resolution (2012) Review - Unseen October Challenge Day 26

Title: Resolution

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


  1. Thanks for taking a look man! Appreciate the thoughtful, great writing about our movie to no end.

  2. I just watched this movie along with my wife. I liked the story and all, but I am still a bit fuzzy on the ending? I've got my own theory but it is leaning more towards a "Sci-Fi" theme then anything else. The archeologist is the one that put me on that path of thinking? I don't want to say to much because I would hate to spoil it for anyone.

  3. Great non-spoiler review. I'll be looking for this one, as I'm a huge fan of Bill Oberst. Even if he's not a lead, it looks like something worth checking out.

  4. Spoiler Alert

    How many people took the time to edit the last of the audio coming from the native demon/angel at the end... there may be more in the message but so far I have help me, hell is on earth to me... if anyone does any audio editing using audacity Id be more then welling to send the project. love to know if there was any extra I am missing.

  5. I don´t see many problems like you, it´s a solid plot and amazing meta-movie.

    The end explains who are the "monster", it´s us!

  6. When I saw the movie, the end disappointed me. First reaction was "I don't like, it doesn't even seem a horror movie". Then, thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that, though the good tecnique (good chararcters, good acting, good dialogue, etc) I still don't like it for a simply reason: the plot is inconsistent. It's like they put together everything you can find in a horror filmography winthout giving these elements a reason why they are in the movie. We have vhs and other video-messages like "the ring", we have the native legends (the indians? again? really? please..), we have the house who takes the inhabitants like it was the poltergeist movie, the crazy people outside the window, the disillusioned scientist.. There's nothing original nor unique in this movie, and that wouldn't bother me much (there are plenty of un-original but good movies) if the element created a valid plot but this is not the case. This is the kind of movie where you have a bunch of element with no connection, an end that doesn't end nor explain anything and that is not an and at all, a non-existent plot that make you wait all the movie for something to happen, but when you arrive at the end and nothing happens, you are forced to build up some plot of your own because you cannot accept that you wasted your time.

  7. The review is great and non-spoilery.

    The commenter before me and others who think the movie was incoherent should look the explanation up online and then they will get the desired chill. There is a good explanation in the forums at imdb.