Resurrection Review: Hall instills thrills and chills in another can’t miss performance
Rebecca Hall continues to be an acting force to be reckoned with in her latest nerve-shredder performance in Andrew Semans’ Resurrection.
The film follows a woman named Margaret (Hall) as her comforting world is turned upside-down after her abusive ex-boyfriend David (Tim Roth) reenters her life causing for her to deal with dormant inner demons. The way that Semans’ direction and Hall’s performance characterize Margaret’s strength in the opening moments in the film are perfect. Margaret’s sense of confidence in helping another woman escape a bad relationship shows her inner strength, and the sense of control she has over her life immediately sets Margaret up as this seemingly perfect person, which completely changes when she sees David. Once David enters the picture, Margaret’s dormant pain rushes to the surface and kicks off an intense power struggle that sees her fall into a downward spiral.
Margaret’s growing obsession with trying to maintain her strength over David is harrowing to watch. It’s genuinely gut-wrenching to see how just seeing him again completely sends her into a panicked frenzy and her determination to regain her control goes to some self-destructive lengths. You truly don’t know when things are really going to snap and part of Resurrection’s thrilling horror is constantly wondering whether Margaret will take back her control or succumb to David. It’s even more devastating to see how Margaret being thrown into a spiral has caused her relationship with her daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman) to become deeply fractured.
Margaret’s personal arc and story within Resurrection is easily the film’s most compelling element as Hall’s performance is just captivating and it touches on some big themes about abuse incredibly well. The strong shift and sudden growing pain that Margaret has when David returns excellently shows how outward strength can mask inner trauma and that truly anyone can be a victim of abuse, even those that look the strongest. Even Margaret’s relationship with Abbie is a telling sign of how victims can become abusers as her controlling behavior emulates some of the ways that David kept control of her, which ultimately worsens as Margaret’s paranoia grows. The dissolve of their relationship is one of the most emotionally devastating parts of the film because of how real the emotions are.
Hall’s performance heightens every part of Margaret’s determination for control as she delivers another tense and nerve-shredding performance following her highly underrated work in The Night House. The screen presence she brings in the big emotional shift that Margaret goes through immediately grabs your attention and never let’s go. She truly goes through every emotion on-screen and mangles your heart with the disturbing lengths Margaret will go to not fall back under David’s control, which she doesn’t always succeed at. Resurrection easily showcases Hall in top-form, and she delivers one of the coldest and captivating monologues that’s award-worthy on its own.
Roth is equally memorable as David and the way that he’s characterized makes him more compelling as an abuser. Rather than be a physical threat, David’s callous manipulation and chilling demeanor towards Margaret adds much darker shades to his character and ultimately makes him more complex. Roth’s performance adds to the sociopathic nature of David making him an easily despisable villain that you can’t help but be intrigued by as he just carelessly reels Margaret back under his thumb. Hall’s performance and Margaret’s story are undoubtedly what makes Resurrection a must-see nerve-shredder, but Roth’s performance and David’s depiction as an abuser keep you hooked into the film’s most disturbing moments.
The only issue with Resurrection is its ending as it takes a bonkers final turn that unfortunately takes you out of the richly dark and realistic atmosphere it expertly set up. For most of the film you’re left wondering how things between Margaret and David will come to a head and how this looming question about a past child will be resolved. When the film gets to its final confrontation, it provides a sharp turn into weird territory that struggle to make the film’s crucial final moments stick in a satisfying way. It all simply feels unbelievable and falters into dreamlike territory that feels cheap and robs the film of leaving a gut-punch of an ending.
Even for its clumsy and unsatisfying out of left field ending, Resurrection delivers some cold thrills through its chilling and engrossing power struggles that sees both Hall and Roth acting at their best. Hall especially leaves you shaken up with another strong performance that solidifies her as a must-watch talent.