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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Resolution (2012) - Horror, Drama

Resolution (2012) - Resolution is the story of two men, torn apart by drug use, brought together for an intervention in one friends desire to mend the damage done. A series of strange occurrences turns this drama about a broken friendship into a surreal journey of addiction, guilt, life anxiety, and forgiveness. Written by Justin Benson and directed by Benson and partner Aaron Moorhead, it is a film that leaves the viewer with some resolution but maybe also opens windows to places that are not fully explored or satisfactorily connected. A piece of film making art that in some ways is an unfinished canvass.The story is about two friends who went to high school together, Mike Danube (Peter Cilella) and  Chris Daniels (Vinny Curren) who have drifted apart in adulthood because Chris has a sustained addiction to crack cocaine. After receiving a video of Chris acting erratically and seemingly dangerously, Mike leaves his pregnant wife Jennifer to seek out Chris, following a map that Chris included with the video, a seeming cry for help. We think he is going to offer treatment but instead takes a more drastic approach. 
  Stunning his friend with a tazor Mike handcuffs him to a pipe in the rundown house and then informs him the two of them will be there for seven days, long enough for the drugs to leave his system. Naturally this does not sit well with Chris who very quickly goes through many of the stages of not only withdrawal but also grief. Chris tries many approaches to get himself freed such as Pleading, lashing out in anger, and negotiation. The guy wants to smoke crack and that is a serious addiction so really trying anything is okay. The premise of two men brought together in this situation is the physical structure of the film, it is the place this film lives but it is not the only place.
  The early movie establishes the characters well enough with Mike the calm successful one and Chris the delusional crack head. the addition of a few more characters in a couple other crackheads, and  Charles, the Native American owner of the house that Chris has been squatting in, all add some depth to the area and situation. One thing we notice early on is the lack of any interaction between Chris and anyone else alive, a directorial decision leaving open the idea that this could be a story about Mike's mental health. Sure the crack heads that come looking for a fix are there to see Chris but the directors skillfully make it that the only one we actually see Chris interact with is Mike.
  Mike also has other troubling issues that lead one to think that Mike's sanity is not necessarily as firmly packed as we originally think. First there is the initiating video the film opens with. Filmed as if someone is following Chris around it is a collection of extreme behavior and emotion that supposedly Chris sent to Mike. However, once the two men are together Chris denies creating it. Is Chris a reliable reporter? Well he is a crack head so probably not. Mike, in his wanderings around the neighborhood over the seven days at the house, starts finding strange pieces of media, an old record and a record player, a VHS tape and player, a reel of super eight movie and a projector. Each seems to be telling him a story that Chris chained to a pipe does not seem to connect to. Mike develops the idea that these finds are a story looking for an ending, and until he and his friend can give that ending the cycle of  finding will continue. When he finds media that include he and Chris, and the possible tragic ending to their situation, they look for a solution. Though this idea is never fully understood by the characters or the audience it is the driving force to the climax of the film.
  Through the increase in intensity of the story idea Mike and Chris are able to reconcile many of the issues that have not been resolved in their relationship. When the film climax is reached on the seventh day. Mike releases Chris and they are in a frenzy to find an ending that does not end badly for either of them. A surprising amount of tension is created with the side characters in this stretch. Always on the clock the film passes its timer and still has a situation where there are real stakes. The last scene is a bit disappointing, intentionally open ended and unclear it feels more like a unformed idea than an ending. It could be that the media, "We (Chris and Mike) are in the story" idea was not fleshed out clearly enough that makes the last scene lack impact. It could be that the writer, Justin Benson, and Directors, Benson and Moorhead are being obtuse.
  Ultimately I don't think they are, I try not to read about the films before watching and reviewing them so there are probably plenty of interviews I will see after this that will fill answer my questions. This is a solid film, grounded in character that explores an interesting idea. I would definitely recommend this film for anyone looking for a unique take on the horror genre.

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