Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead's film Resolution was yet another title I narrowly missed at Fantasia in July. It is a title that had some great buzz attached to it, so I made sure to steer clear of the specifics until I was able to see it as part of Toronto After Dark.
After finding his junkie best friend Chris (Vinny Curran) in a remote cabin in the woods, Michael (Peter Cilella) goes about trying to get him clean and sober by handcuffing him to a pipe. While waiting out the detox, Michael finds some old films nearby that tell a story that becomes increasingly strange and troubling with each one.
Resolution is one of those few films that even with the baggage of its hype still managed to exceed my expectations. There are several reasons why I think this film owns, but the main one is just how fresh and unique it is. Gradually adding layer upon layer, it uses a buddy comedy to creep in underlying elements of horror and mystery. It really is a breath of fresh air.
It has been a long time since I have watched a film and not been constantly reminded of something else. The modern horror genre is a beast of influences and mimicry, but writer Justin Benson sidesteps both effortlessly. Aside from that though, Resolution soars due to its brilliantly understated direction. Simply, Benson & Moorhead just let their actors do the work. This was a two character piece and both Curran and Cilella were absolutely fantastic. The exchanges between them felt natural and gave the appearance that they had a lot of history behind them. The fact that they kept mentioning events and people from their past really helped me envision a reality outside of that cabin.
|Peter Cilella (left) & Vinny Curran in Resolution.
I also think the introduction of the film footage element was also tactfully done. It is all too common for this subgenre to make the footage the main crux or format of the story, but here it was only there to add atmosphere and never overshadowed the situation built in the first act.
The ending is decidedly ambiguous, but Benson did insist at the Q&A that there is a correct interpretation, and the answer is there from frame one. After much thought, I have a theory, but I'll let you come up with your own once you have watched it yourself. And you should.
|Directors Justin Benson (left) & Aaron Moorhead, actors Vinny Curran & Peter Cilella and producer David Lawson.
Resolution is the definition of indie filmmaking, as Benson & Moorhead have created something of weight and substance for a fraction of the cost of Hollywood fluff. There isn't one thing about this film I would change and therefore it is the best thing I've seen at Toronto After Dark so far.