Based on quite an extraordinary true story (just google “Philip Williams Falklands” to find out more), Resurrected is far from a perfect film but it’s a quietly powerful one and launched the film careers of both Paul Greengrass and David Thewlis, with both having been involved in numerous TV projects before this came along.
Thewlis plays Kevin Deakin, a young man who eventually returns from the Falklands weeks after the war in Argentina has ended. People are pleased to see him, especially his family, but they’re also a bit taken aback. Because they had a funeral for Kevin. He’d been missing for almost seven weeks after the battle of Mount Tumbledown. Kevin himself doesn’t really know what happened, his memory of events is gone, and this doesn’t help when he’s faced with some who call him a scared deserter. Just what happened on that fateful evening and can Kevin get back to a normal life?
Showing obvious signs of budgetary limitations in places (most notably in the flashback scenes that attempt to show parts of the battle), Resurrected mostly manages to overcome it’s meagre resources by focusing on the characters and powerfully emotional moments throughout.
Thewlis is superb in the main role, a man glad to be home and initially welcomed with open arms before doubt and rumours begin to grow. Tom Bell and Rita Tushingham are both excellent as the loving parents glad to have their son back even while their minds begin to think the previously unthinkable. Young Michael Pollitt also deserves a mention, a lad who has no such doubts in his mind and is just glad to have his big brother back. Christopher Fulford, you may not recognise the name but you may well know the face, also does well as a soldier who sees Kevin’s presence as both an insult to the regiment and a constant reminder of his own, hidden, fear. There are also a couple of very early, brief appearances by the likes of Steve Coogan and David O’Hara.
Greengrass directs in an unfussy style and leaves the material to do the work well within it’s capabilities. Martin Allen’s script gets all of the information across and has a few key moments of dialogue here and there which, complemented by the acting, work really well.
The whole thing is efficient and effective, whether it’s the way in which we see those around Kevin growing to resent his presence in town (a sharp reminder of the war and a negation of the war hero they “buried”) or in a superb scene in which the “resurrected” lad listens to a tape recording of a medium apparently conversing with him in the spirit world.
A war movie about the toll war takes without actually focusing on the war, Resurrected deserves to be seen for the standout piece it is and also for the launchpad it proved to be.
Resurrected is due out on DVD on 25 July 2011 and is well worth a purchase if you enjoy your viewings low-key but loaded with powerful stuff. The disc itself has a decent picture though I must say that the sound veered between the far-too-quiet (dialogue moments) to the far-too-loud (the flashback scenes), which made finding a middle ground very difficult. Two exclusive new interviews (one with Paul Greengrass and one with David Thewlis) are included on the disc, both run to about 15 minutes each and are quite illuminating in terms of the creation of the main feature and the fledgling careers of both men.
DIRECTOR: PAUL GREENGRASS
STARS: DAVID THEWLIS, TOM BELL, RITA TUSHINGHAM, RUDI DAVIES, CHRISTOPHER FULFORD
RUNTIME: 88 MINS APPROX