Furious that I missed Resolution during its Tribeca run in 2012, I’ve been anxiously waiting to get my grubby paws on a copy of the Blu-Ray for review – and it didn’t disappoint. Writer/director Justin Benson and director Aaron Moorhead created a tantalizing bit of mindfuckery that exemplifies all the best aspects of independent filmmaking, not really adhering to one single genre. While most assuredly a psychological horror film, there are moments of lighthearted, comical banter, and also dramatic, tension filled scenes full of mystery. It’s a bit of a tonal mish mosh, but the flavors are all farm fresh, grade A quality – in other words, they work wonderfully together.
The plot is rather simple – Michael Danube (Peter Cilella) wants to save his drug addicted best friend Chris Daniels (Vinny Curran). Fortunately for Michael, Chris has fled into the woods and is currently living in a remote cabin, so Michael finds his way up, and when Chris least expects it, Michael handcuffs Chris to a metal bar and forces him to go cold turkey for a week (with the hope of rehab afterwards). While Chris struggles with his new predicament, fighting his addiction, Michael starts to experience his own dilemma, as photos and film reels start showing up, depicting different “stories” – all of which have an ending. When Michael and Chris start appearing in the “stories” though, through live feeds even, the two friends start to fear there are much more dangerous obstacles than crack to overcome during Chris’ rehabilitation period.
Resolution becomes a rather unnerving experience (in a good way) over time because we’re dragged into Michael and Chris’ story, becoming characters ourselves. As the film marches forward and the haunting discoveries pile up, the film we’re watching jumps around and flares bright colors, making us feel as if we’re being manipulated along with our characters. The terror becomes a shared experience, as we’re captivated by Michael’s obsessive journey (or descent into madness), but the lines become blurred as our own minds are corrupted by the feeling of always being watched. For the life of me, I swear someone was spying on me, peering through my cracked open closet door – cinematic paranoia!
Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran impress as our two lead characters, sporting a chemistry that truly makes the duo feel like childhood chums. While I was a little surprised at how cool, calm, and collected Vinny’s character remained during his cold turkey spell, as most drug addicts violently struggle through the withdrawal, the spooky occurrences happening helped distract from this dismissible detail, and I became much more interested in Michael and Chris coping with seeing themselves in real time on a computer screen that turned itself on.
After a while Resolution becomes a puzzle, with Michael trying to play detective, and Chris simply trying to stay sane. What starts out as a friendship saving story ends with a commentary on fate, decisions, mortality, determined paths, and the notion of something greater pulling the strings of humanity like an invisible puppeteer. I’ve seen films like Yellowbrickroad attempt such a meta, full-circle ending, but fail mightily due to pretension and poor execution. Resolution does not disappoint, thankfully, and provides an ending that answers all (most) story related questions – yet leaves so many real-life questions for viewers to ponder.
Considering the technical specs of the audio and video, there weren’t many scenes of epic action or gory violence, so there were no truly spectacular moments that required such a vivid display. The picture quality was perfectly vibrant, don’t get me wrong, but you watch a movie like Resolution for the story, not for the groundbreaking visuals. These indie filmmakers picked the perfect locations for what their story called for, and the audio shows no signs of inexperience, but there are no highly animated, special effects driven scenes that beg for Blu-Ray quality like, say, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World does. Plus, Resolution comes as a sweet DVD/Blu-Ray combo, so you get both either way. Obviously pick the Blu-Ray version given the choice, but if you only own a DVD player, it isn’t the end of the world.
As for our special features, Resolution does not disappoint:
- Interview With The Filmmakers
- Weird Extras
- Outtakes And Unseen Footage
- Film Festival Promos
Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead had so much fun putting together the special features for Resolution, starting with the available commentaries. Sure, you’ve got your typical Directors’ Commentary and a subsequent Cast and Crew Commentary, but then there’s an entire commentary that features Carmel the Dog. Oh yes. Our directors sit down with Carmel the Dog, and not just for a quick two scene joke – they recorded an entire commentary just with the dog, turning woofs into gushing compliments and insightful dissection. You’ve never heard a commentary like this.
Following that act, I then stumbled upon the “Weird Extras” section, and the material certainly lives up to the title. For starters, the duo cut together certain scenes between Cilella and Curran to make a fake romantic drama trailer in “Alternative Lifestyle.” Our cast and crew also let us know “How Resolution Will Help You Have Sex,” which is just a way for them to create more Resolution type material and seriously mess with our minds – this featurette contains some AWESOME visual effects, don’t ignore it. We’re also introduced to “Shane The Missing Character,” get a sexily dangerous deleted “Topless Scene,” Peter Cilella gets more screen time in “Extended Scene: Lawyer Call,” and of course Benson and Moorhead show viewers their “Alternate Ending,” said to be too “superfluous” after initial screenings – supposedly.
Rounding out the special features, we get a solid chunk of unseen footage, including a weighty behind the scenes featurette, a few extended scenes, and a comical outtakes reel. I flipped on Resolution‘s behind the scenes spot just to get a sense of the production team, but ended up watching the whole damn thing because Benson and Moorhead are so likeable and funny, seamlessly making the most technical moments entertaining. Also, we’re reminded that these two directors weren’t working on a big-budget Hollywood scale, and had a very small, intimate crew. What they accomplished is a testament to the hard working nature of these few driven auteurs.
Resolution is nothing short of independent gold, horribly underrated and unfortunately passed over by those who only see theatrical films. Your thinking will be challenged, your nerve tested, and your wits shaken, creating one of the more flawless independent horror watches this year. Yeah, technically it was a 2012 festival movie, but I always go by wide release dates, as so many viewers ignore the festival circuit (wrongly!). Well, here it is, on Blu-Ray – don’t miss it this time!
Resolution is high-concept, genre-bending, independent cinema done more than right, showcasing why more people need to start paying attention to Video On Demand releases in a world of fluffy, over-bloated mainstream stinkers.