Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Resurrection - Review - #DevonSawa / #MischaBarton

A Resurrection (2013) **1/2
D: Matt Orlando
C: Mischa Barton, J. Michael Trautmann, Devon Sawa, Michael Clarke Duncan, Stuart Stone, Nick Jandl, Matthew Willig, Alanna Janell, Morgan Wolk, Patrick de Ledebur 
Plot Synopsis: Set during a single day at a high school, Jessie (Barton), a guidance counselor, Addison (Duncan), the school principal and Travis (Sawa), local police officer, are the central characters of a "whodunit" as murder sweeps the school. 

All of this is centered around a mentally disturbed student, named Eli, who is convinced that his dead brother will return and seek vengeance against the high school students that played a part in his death, allegedly running his brother over with a car.

REVIEW: Is violence ever the answer to life's problems? In A Resurrection, we follow a group of students who are locked up in after school detention following a scuffle. One of those students, named Eli, claims that the others were responsible for the recent death of his older brother. Feeling there is some truth to this, a high school counselor, along with the school's principal, try to get to the bottom of it all. Further, young Eli claims that his brother is coming back to seek revenge for his death. Is Eli for real or is he delusional?

As the film progresses, the other students involved in this scuffle argue with one another. Some of them are truly unaware of what happened, while others don't want to be ratted out. A sense of impending doom permeates the proceedings. For those that were directly involved, they know they have it coming to them. While those, that were indirectly involved, want to know what the heck is going on.

The school counselor knows something violent is about to happen to those responsible for the death of Eli's brother, but she's not exactly sure how this is going to unfold and to make matters worse, the school now appears to be completely locked down with all the phone lines out. The further the film progresses, the more I became adsorbed in what was happening. Whether it's Eli's resurrected brother or not, I'll leave that for you to find out.

With what's going on, in the film's overall scenario, the cycle of violence, that started with the death of Eli's brother, is repeated yet again. Is violence a never ending cycle? Along the way, there's some unintentional consequences as a result of this violence. The film paints this picture of that once you choose violence as a means to an end, things are just going to get worse and that it doesn't just affect those involved, but everyone else around you. It's not until one character says "no more" and chooses forgiveness, that people can heal and try to pick up the pieces of there life. In a way, the film suggests that violence is the easy way out and that forgiveness is a much harder, though more rewarding choice to make.

A Resurrection is a considered examination into violence & revenge, it's repercussions and ultimately forgiveness. The message behind this film is a timeless one that should resonate with audiences. After all, who hasn't felt so angry, at some point in there life, that they just wanted to take it out on everyone else? While I think the film's message is definitely one worth hearing, I wish that certain scenes had carried more dramatic weight, in particular, the finale.

A lot of this has to do with the performances at hand. Devon Sawa turns in a serviceable performance. Mischa Barton manages to engage you with what's going on in the story. They turn in fine performances, individually, but they don't have no real chemistry with each another. They're supposed to play a newly engaged couple and I was never sold on the idea that they truly loved one another. The idea of Barton & Sawa being in love and engaged to one another ends up being a crucial plot point during the film's last act. Without that chemistry, the actions that Barton's character engages in, never quite have the conviction needed to see the film's message all the way through.

With that being said, writer / director Matt Orlando deserves credit for taking a basic premise and expanding upon that and bringing dignity to a sub-genre of film that people look down upon. Much like the film's message of forgiveness, A Resurrection could have gone the easy way out, but it chooses to take the higher road and, the process, is all the more rewarding because of that. 
[R] 89 mins.

AKA: The Sibling 

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