The Movie Waffler Blu-Ray Review - RESURRECTED (1989) | The Movie Waffler

Blu-Ray Review - RESURRECTED (1989)

resurrected 1989 review
Presumed dead, a British soldier returns home from the Falklands conflict.

Review by Jason Abbey

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Starring: David Thewlis, Tom Bell, Rita Tushingham, Rudi Davies

resurrected 1989 bluray

Paul Greengrass has established himself as both a muscular action director of shaky cam Matt Damon thrillers and of shaky cam docudramas that hark back to his previous role as a journalist. Here, in his directorial debut, Greengrass leaves the camera resolutely on the tripod as he investigates the fallout from the Falklands War of one soldier, Kevin (David Thewlis) who thought dead (and who’s funeral has already taken place in the opening scene), is found wandering the island weeks later, believing that war is still being waged.

resurrected 1989 review

It is a small drama in scope and budget, but the themes and emotional geography are large. On returning to his small village to be reunited with his family - Mother (Rita Tushingham) and Father (Tom Bell) - he is given a muted hero's welcome. The army doesn’t know what to do with him. Journalists circle a soldier who has come back from the dead like Lazarus. The locals are keen to celebrate a hero, buoyed by the jingoistic fervor of tabloid newspapers (the infamous ‘Gotcha’ headline celebrating the sinking of the Belgrano noticeably cut out and stuck next to a dart board). His girlfriend Julie (Rudi Davies) is keen to rekindle a relationship but is now emotionally cut off from a man who is demonstrably changed from the person she once knew.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Orphans ]

Is Kevin’s amnesia brought on by PTSD (flashbacks to a night time assault show the gore soaked and hellish nightmare of battle, confusion writ large across faces as carefully laid plans are forgotten amid the viscera and smoke of modern warfare)? Or has he gone AWOL in the heat of battle, betraying his comrades? Greengrass is not interested in easy answers. There is no dichotomy here. Both answers can be right and wrong at the same time. That Kevin has been drastically affected by the war is not in doubt, and a young Thewlis shows the damage wrought to a fragile psyche on a strikingly young face.

resurrected 1989 review

If the village wants an uncomplicated hero to venerate, the institutions that profit from the war do not. Newspapers turn the narrative from hero to coward in order to churn a few more stories and the Army doesn’t know what to do with him. His regiment no longer trust him, painting a coward’s streak of yellow down the back of his uniform. Even the regiment's actions are cloudy, as flashbacks show a unit in confusion and trauma, paralysed by fear. Even out of war, individuals are plagued by night terrors and feelings of inadequacy. Kevin therefore becomes a focus of their fears and own weaknesses, culminating in an act of vicious barracks brutality, all under the watchful eye of their Corporal (Ewan Stewart), who is aware of the need for a sacrificial lamb and is only too eager to provide the knife.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Black Angel ]

What we are left with is a vision of how war affects both the individual and those left behind. His parents are happy to have a dead child back but are unable to comprehend the horrors their son has faced. His girlfriend that wants a life unencumbered by trauma and his group of mates (including a young Steve Coogan) have neither the empathy or the emotional intelligence to talk about or to Kevin.

resurrected 1989 review

Even the army turns its back. Unable to deal with the idea of cowardice in the regiment, a Captain will declare him not really of the calibre and worth to be in his elite. Like Pet Sematary, another tale of someone rising from the grave irrevocably changed, sometimes dead is better.
A serviceable but slightly underpowered set of extras featuring an archival interview with the director discussing the origins of the film as well as a featurette with Thewlis discussing the lead role. Also included is a very short interview with Tushingham.

In lieu of a director’s commentary there is a 60-minute audio recording from the Imperial War Museum recalling the experiences of Falklands War veteran Private Philip Williams, the real-life inspiration for Thewlis's character.

Add to the mix the original theatrical trailer, image gallery: publicity and promotional material and new and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and you have a reasonable selection for post film enjoyment.

The limited edition also contains a booklet with an essay by Julian Petley, Greengrass and screenwriter Martin Allen on Resurrected, extracts from an interview with Philip Williams, plus an overview of critical responses.

Resurrected is on blu-ray now from Powerhouse Indicator.