Reviews

Tribeca Review: Resolution

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[From April 19th to the 29th, Flixist will bring you live coverage of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Keep an eye out for news, features, interviews, videos, and reviews of some of the most anticipated films to hit the festival circuit in 2012.]

When I saw that there was a horror-comedy at Tribeca featuring a cast of at least one bearded baseball-cap wearing redneck, I knew I had to see it. I didn’t know what it would be, but I was hoping to get something of a spiritual successor to Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. As it turns out, Resolution is nothing like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Brownhaired, bearded, hat-wearing sidekicks aside, the films really don’t have much in common.

But that’s not a bad thing. Resolution has its own identity, and it’s certainly an interesting one. I can’t tell you what it is though. I can’t even give you a hint. The big reveal at the end changes everything, and there’s no way I’m going to spoil it for you. But trailers might, and other people might. So tread carefully.


Resolution
Directors: Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead
Release Date: TBD
Rating: R

Michael’s (Peter Cilella) best friend Chris (Vinny Curran) has a drug problem. He’s addicted to crack, and it has clearly caused a major rift in their relationship. So Michael decides it’s time to do something about it. After being sent a weird video of Chris shooting things and smoking crack, along with a map leading to his present location in the middle of nowhere, Michael heads up for a week to convince Chris to become clean.

During the week, he meets a lot of weird people. There’s the French guy (who I am pretty sure is an anthropologist) who spouts off philosophical nonsense using mirrors as a visual aid; the group of religious fundamentalists (cameo’d by the directors and some other guy) who want to tell everyone about the way the messiah will return to Earth; and the guy with a suit and a briefcase who shows up unannounced and tries to buy the building Michael and Chris are in with cash.

But there are also the dangerous ones. There is the pair of drug addicts that Chris owes money to; the group of Native Americans who actually own the land; and the person, group, or thing that keeps playing with their heads. That last one is the most dangerous, and also where the film’s horror elements come from. For much of the movie, aside from some creepy music and sound effects, there’s really nothing particularly scary. Tense? Absolutely. Scary? No. In the final act, though, things take a turn for the worse, and the tension, which gets ratcheted up even higher, is mixed with things that are out and out terrifying.

Resolution - Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran

The cliche that holds Resolution back from greatness is Michael’s refusal to leave in the midst of all the weirdness. Because he has an overall mission (get Chris clean), which only really works in the context of them staying where they are or going to rehab, there is some more logic than in other films with the same trap (the most direct comparison I could make would give too much away). Even so, his obsession with figuring out puzzles and clues leads them down a dark path. Admittedly, if he didn’t have that curiosity, there would have been no movie, but that’s no excuse for character stupidity.

When it comes down to it, though, the biggest issue with Resolutionis with the ending itself. It’s one hell of a twist, and it worked in the context of the film, but I don’t know that it was enough. There really wasn’t much else that could have been done, but for a film so obsessed with endings (the title refers to resolution in the context of a story), it’s weird how noncommittal its own is. The ending is implied rather than shown, and that seems silly.

But, in context of other films, it makes sense. All such films are abrupt, because eventually there’s nothing left worth showing and there’s no real way to resolve the action. In its own genre, Resolution is a fascinating example of innovation, and it should be commended for that. But it still falls prey to conventions. I don’t know that it’s destined to become a cult classic, but it has potential. Some people will probably think the twist is some kind of ridiculous cop out, but they are wrong. It is not only cool in and of itself, but it justifies pretty much all of my complaints about the film’s presentation. Regardless, it’s a movie you should see, and I recommend doing so before word gets out about what it really is.

Hubert Vigilla:Resolution is about bad ideas and good intentions. It’s also about stories, though not in an overtly metatextual way. You hope Michael can help his friend Chris (Cilella and Curran have good chemistry when confined together), but Michael’s brand of intervention is a bad idea. The thing about bad ideas, of course, is that they usually come to bad ends. You wonder why Michael would orchestrate this kind of thing, in this kind of place, in these kinds of circumstances, and surrounded by so many sinister people. You also wonder who is leaving stuff for him to find and why, and what it could all mean. It’s pretty fascinating to watch the mystery unfold and, of course, how it all ends. 76 – Good