Published on September 20th, 2013 | by Craig Silliphant
Resolution (Spoiler Free)
In Resolution, Mike is a man with a sense of responsibility, so he goes to a dilapidated cabin to find his friend Chris, who has been spending his days firing off guns and smoking crack like it’s as awesome as…well, crack. Mike chains Chris up, in hopes that he can get his old friend to detox, or at least, so he can say he tried. It’s not too long before a cast of weirdos, heavies, and drug dealers are showing up at the cabin door, creating a sense of dread. But a deeper mystery forms when Mike keeps finding strange recordings and objects that seem left for him. Ironically, he ends up sounding like the crazy person, rather than his friend the crack head.
It’s hard to talk about this movie without giving away the key to it, which is always an inherent problem in spoiler-free film criticism. What I can say is that it’s effective, first because of a middle-of-nowhere creepiness, with Mike playing a well-meaning fish out of water. But it also has some shades of Cache or Lost Highway, in terms of video, but also in terms of the ‘meta’ approach.
It’s not all darkness though — it’s actually a very light-hearted movie for the type of movie that it is. There are quirky characters and a hilarious dynamic between the two leads, who play their parts believably.
People compared this movie to Cabin in the Woods, which was a bit misleading, just because I expected the shit to hit the fan, but it’s really more of a slow burn to a freaky ending. If anything, this is a talkier, much more esoteric version of Cabin in the Woods. At first, I didn’t even understand the ending, but once I thought back to some key scenes, I realized the brilliance of it. I don’t usually need things spoon-fed to me, but I wonder if the ending could have been slightly more obvious? But that’s a small nitpick in a smart, funny, understated movie.
DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER UNTIL YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE!
Okay, I lied — I wanted to include my thoughts on the ending, so I have to talk about some specifics. This movie reminded me of the first real ‘meta’ book I ever read — The Monster at the End of this Book, a Sesame Street children’s book, where Grover is afraid of the reader turning the page, because he’s heard there’s a monster at the end of the book. To spoil the end of that book, the monster is Grover himself, a cute and ironic ending.
In the end of Resolution, the viewer is the monster at the end of this book (or movie, as it were). We, the audience, are the thing that Mike doesn’t want to bring home to his wife. We are the huge shadow looming over Mike and Chris at the end as he asks us, “can we try another way?” But his time is up — As an audience, we demand a story, we demand excitement, we demand a strong resolution. When I said above that perhaps the end could have been a bit more obvious, I am stupidly playing right into the filmmaker’s hands. Like Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, they have brilliantly bitch slapped me with my own expectations.