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Resolution (2012): Watch That Third Step

Resolution (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, 2012)

Two people in shadow stand in front of a house with a ghostly face above them in smoke on the DVD cover.

Withdrawal wasn’t bad enough by itself?
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It has been slightly less than a week since I finished watching Resolution, and I still haven’t quite figured out how I feel about the movie’s final sequence. It’s either brilliant or stupid, and I’m still balancing 50/50 on that line. Which is not to say that the rest of the movie isn’t wonderful, which is why I decided to table that question for the sake of writing this review; be aware that you may end up loathing the last five minutes of the movie, but the ninety that get you there are well worth it.

Chris and Mike discuss Chris' withdrawal in a still from the film.

“I’m thinking of putting a bay window in. Good idea?”
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Plot: Chris Daniels (Machine Head‘s Vinny Curran) is on an epic meth bender as the film opens, shooting at birds, playing with his dog, etc. We get the feeling this is not his first (this is confirmed about fifteen minutes into the film). Mike Danube (Ghost Game‘s Peter Cilella), Chris’ best friend—in fact, Chris’ last remaining friend—heads up to the cabin and, after a bit of subterfuge, handcuffs Chris to a pipe in the wall. Meth withdrawal takes a week and, Mike says, if Chris gets it all out of his system and then decides to go back to it, Mike will leave Chris to his own devices, but if Chris decides at that point to go into rehab, Mike will help him out. For the first twenty-five minutes of the movie, it’s abut two guys in a cabin, one of whom is trying various tricks to get a hit. And then…things get weird.

A local nutjob explains a complex conspiracy theory to Mike in a still from the film.

Bill Oberst Jr. makes everything a little better.
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I wrote those last sentences a week ago and I still don’t know how I feel about that last sequence. I have read easily a dozen different interpretations of it, and I recognize that the fact that you can even get a dozen different interpretations of it out of it, even if some of them don’t stand up to too much scrutiny, is in itself a good thing. The one that makes the most sense to me is kind of brilliant, but I can’t shake the feeling that had it been handled just a little bit differently, it might have confused fewer folks. Yes, I realize the contradiction inherent in this paragraph; see why this movie has been smacking me in the head for a week? Regardless, however, the movie turns on the very good performances of Curran and Cilella; even after this stops being the two-person thriller the first third-ish of the movie sets up, the movie is still very much focused on these two guys, with other folks providing background color and a bit of information to help the astute viewer sort out the ending, or so I understand from some of the celluloid archaeologists who have concocted the more elaborate hypotheses about its ending. And even if the ending leaves you befuddled and arguing with your friends into the night or frantically scouring the internet to find out what it all means, the two-person-thriller aspect of the movie, after a slow start (this is not necessarily a bad thing; the opening montage is half hilarious and half heartbreaking), works like a charm. You want to give this one a look. *** ½


About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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