Resolution (2012)

Written by, directed by, edited by, and produced by Justin Benson. Who is he? No idea. What I know is that expectations for any movie that has one driving force behind it must be lowered. For every Steve Jobs-style driving creative force that works, there are a million guys who have a single-minded dream that they somehow get money for, and it should never have been allowed.

This is a story that reminds me of the movie Scenic Route in that other characters are there to prod the story or create friction between the two main characters, but these two main guys (played by Peter Cilella and Vinny Curran) and repairing their lifelong friendship is the focal point of the movie. Everything relies on these two guys talking to each other and working things out. The main difference is that there is something else going on in the area where they are doing all of this, and it appears possibly supernatural.

Peter plays the guy who got his stuff together in this crappy little town and moved the heck out to get a lovely wife and a baby on the way. After he gets an email from Vinny that basically shows that Vinny has been spiraling out of control with his drug abuse and apparent love of firearms, Peter decides to pack up a bunch of stuff and go to help Vinny detox - whether he wants it or not.

Peter manages to chain him up inside the house where he's been squatting to allow the slow, cold-turkey detox to happen over the next week. This would actually be enough movie. If they just had their banter (not as good as the banter in Scenic Route, mind you) and they worked through their issues, this might have been a good movie. As it is, they added the issue of a couple of local drug dealers who have a score to settle with Vinny and the grumpy owner of the house they are squatting in (Zahn McClarnon). There are a few other strange characters that seem thrown in for no reason other than to create awkward situations that the two have to deal with.

Really, the main complication in this story is the strange remnants of an old house that also has a mysterious shed next to it. The shed has a bunch of recording and playback equipment for different kinds of media (mostly antiquated physical media). As time goes on, Peter becomes more and more obsessed with where these recordings are from and what they mean. He keeps finding new stuff and tries to figure out if it is telling them something. Vinny is vaguely comic relief for most of the movie, as he is constantly joking about wanting drugs (which he totally wants) and dismissing everything else as unimportant.

"We spend a lot of time squatting in this house."
The movie is an odd amalgam of different kinds of movies, and they aren't completely tied together the way I'd like to see them. That said, the movie has its own charm and it tries very hard to establish a unique identity. The problem is that everything is leading to a big climax, and the writer had no idea how to bring it. Like a teenager fumbling around in the dark with his girlfriend for the first time, the writer didn't seem to have much of a plan, and ultimately it was a disappointment to everyone.

Direction was not great
Story was generally pretty good
Dialog was generally good
Acting was good
Editing was not great

Bottom Line: Ambitious, and not that bad. Just not that great, either.



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