21 May 2011 | johnnyboyz
Stark first feature from Greengrass; a film entitled Resurrected which would incidentally go on to spur certain careers in what is a rather brave and involving effort.
The telling moment in Resurrected occurs, after many-a thing has been said and done, when the bedraggled lead character, whom has been ever-present thus far since returning from a war-zone having thought to have been dead, gets up out of the hospital bed he'd been placed within so as to physically move away from a television broadcast of what looks like an old British propaganda film from the 1940s. It is a devilishly clever instance; an instance that is at once a mere depiction of a man we presume to be suffering from bouts of insomnia, such is the strain he's going through, so moves away from the general area to a quieter place to try and combat this, but on another level, is the film itself physically moving its lead away from what it is that's being relayed across the TV's screen in a literal and thematic manner. The film playing out on the TV appears a piece very much about a British man returning from a war-zone and just 'clicking' back into the groove having arrived home again - in doing so, waltzing back into the life he left behind; picking up where his relationships with his wife left off and then triumphantly declaring that he'd be proud to "do it all over again".
Having the lead physically get up and walk away from such an instance is its own literal rejection of such a notion or mentality, a wry murmur under its breath along the lines of "Yeah, right...." as its lead dejectedly shuffles away, still unable to properly function. Renowned British director Paul Greengrass' debut feature from 1989 is a systematic rejection of the above items, a deeply moving and thoroughly worthwhile exploration of a man returning from a war-zone having signed up; fought and then felt very deeply about the newfound situation he was thence in. Here is a film about that returning war veteran whom it transpires didn't single handedly win the war; doesn't find it easy to merely readjust and is powerless to seeing links and ties to girlfriends and parents just crumble around him.
The distinction between genuine representation and fabricated portrayals of mythic heroism or whatnot begins with the opening sequence, a funereal for a certain soldier from the north of England named Kevin Deakin, here played impeccably by David Thewlis. The vicar in a packed church, already alluding to a larger extent of family and branch of friends, speaks of his dedication and bravery and so on – numerous people clearly upset at his passing before the film cuts to the less colourful and more vacant misty moors of The Falkland Islands complete with the lone figure of this soldier trudging across the screen eventually transpiring to be Deakin. The man arrives at a nearby farm populated by English speaking natives, they tell him the true-to-life The War of 1982 with Argentina is over and has been for some while; their informing of him that many-a medal for bravery and such will surely follow his actions appears to arouse Deakin's attention, but not for the good, as their later informing him that the army are on the way to pick him up elicits more in the way of nervous glances than it does relief. Such instances are the first to dramatically toy with which reality occurred within the last month and a half of Deakin's life.
He arrives home to a chorus of cheers and, above all else, faces of amazement at his still existing. Thought dead; missing for several weeks and suffering a vanishing which came about under some circumstances we're manoeuvred into wondering whether or not are questionable, spawn certain consequences. Here, the newspapers are quick to heroise the man; like the aforementioned example of the television movie, the instance is a further example of a fabricated example of a medium covering the surface material and painting an invincible, machine-like persona of someone. Principally, this clash of the mediafied and the realised comes to affect Deakin's life in a physical sense when he is sent back to his barracks post following leave; aside from the fact his first action upon returning is to walk into his quarters to the diegetic sounds of a Culture Club song asking the question as to whether one wishes to victimise, his fellow soldiers, lead by the thuggish Slaven (Fulford), proceed to make his life rather Hellish as this person whom rejected the more manly ideal of fighting with the enemy rejoins the ranks. Their actions are of an aggressive and oppressive nature, reminiscent of the very things they themselves fought against and defeated mere months ago now ironically incurring onto another.
Thewlis' performance, as stated, is superb; the man doing so well to capture the angst and nervousness that comes with being thrust back into a proverbial fire and the heated scenarios born out of that. As things unfold, Resurrected essentially reveals itself as one party's word against another's; the ambiguity in regards to Thewlis' character suffering immense feelings of pain, or indeed guilt, in often not wishing to speak of what truly happened, is captured wonderfully by the man – the maintaining of that ambiguity throughout additionally impressive. Greengrass deals expertly with all of the material; balancing the tonal jumps from sequences featuring people merely existing in a space verbally running through certain things to the tougher scenes of anger and violence, in what is a really interesting film doing well to sensibly explore a thesis that it takes on with immense degrees of competence; the likes of which equate to a film well worth seeing.