Thursday, July 28, 2022


When films treat us like psychoanalysts, openly asking us to differentiate their characters’ delusions from reality, we should start charging them an hourly rate. Margaret is definitely that kind of unreliable protagonist. Her daughter understandably begs her to seek help, but viewers are the ones who have to judge whether her stalker crisis is legit in Andrews Semans’ Resurrection, which opens tomorrow in New York.

Initially, Margaret is so together, she can give the intern empowerment lessons without sounding condescending (not really, but the intern acts like she can). However, the wheels come off shockingly quickly when she spies David Moore, a man from her secret past. As we learn, Moore trapped her in an appallingly abusive and manipulating relationship.

Apparently, Moore is smart-stalking her, appearing in public places, acting like the picture of mild-mannered innocence. Of course, Margaret knows better and Moore will not wait too long to justify her fear. Unfortunately, Margaret is not merely apprehensive. She downshifts into such unhinged mania, Rebecca Hall’s performance has earned comparisons to Isabelle Adjani’s freakout in

We are told (and come to believe) Moore’s behavior was not just violent and controlling. He took viciousness to macabre extremes. That would still be believable, until Semans ratchets it up to borderline fantastical levels. Yet, that wrinkle is the only interesting angle of an otherwise wildly overwrought stalker thriller, better suited to the Lifetime network than arthouse cinemas.

Yes, Hall fully commits to her performance as Margaret, but Semans makes her meltdown so precipitous and complete, it is troubling from multiple perspectives, including that of realists and feminists. Tim Roth is massively creepy playing Moore, but he goes from being a bland bystander to monstrous bogeyman, with nothing in-between to sustain the film’s intended vibe of uncertainty. Probably the best work (and the most relatable) comes from Grace Kaufman, as Margaret’s increasingly alarmed daughter, Abbie.

Resurrection, it looks like our time is almost up. Don’t come back next week. I can tell by your annoyingly ambiguous final shot (potentially undermining the supposed resolution) that you really don’t want to determine the truth. You prefer to keep playing games and acting coy—so we can’t help you. There will be no referrals. Not recommended, Resurrection opens tomorrow (7/29) at the IFC Center.