Resolution Movie Resolved Explained Conjectured

I pitched to you guys a desperate need. A hail Mary of sorts. Yeah, first world problem. But I needed movies. Interesting, head scratching, mind blowing movies. And you guys came through. I think you threw 5 or 10 at me via comments, emails and morse code. So thanks for that. And one of the movies that you sent me was Resolution. Which I wouldn’t say is GREAT. But in comparison to the in flight entertainment being schlepped on me by the perpetual American Airlines NBC advertisement,… yeah, by those standards? It was freaking brilliant. So, no, it isn’t a ringing endorsement. But there really were exciting moments of brilliance to be had here. Really? If you sift away the choppy editing, and the less than lackluster acting, you will see a couple of golden moments that hold this movie together and even made me decide I wanted to write about it.

So this is where we stow the periscope and dive. Here be dragons. If you do not want to hear spoilers then, please, avert your eyes. Ok? Great.

Quick Overview of Resolution

Super simple idea. Michael’s best friend, Chris, is ruining his life in a hopped up drug fueled downward spiral. And in an attempt to avert disaster for his friend Michael physically intervenes. Like, to the point of handcuffing his buddy to a wall. So far so good. Has a bit of an inverted Leaving Las Vegas feel to it going on. Oh, no, better yet? They Look Like People! Yeah, I was trying to figure out what movie it was like the whole time I was watching, and that is it. That’s the one. They Look Like People. But at the half way point, the acting and the direction makes it 100% clear they are less concerned about Chris’ recovery – which has decidedly taken a back seat to pretty much absolutely everything – and more concerned about Michael and his own sanity. Or, whatever the heck else is going on around those parts. Because whatever it is, it isn’t normal. Nope. Not normal at all.

The Players of Resolution

Resolution really is a story about two guys in a shack. Until, it absolutely isn’t. And at that moment, we realize that this low key, introspective sounding movie is going to become anything but. Don’t believe me, take a look at this crowded list of groups of players in this “pastoral” picture:

  • The Druggies – there are three or four druggies that have been hanging out with Chris and providing him his stuff. But these guys are apparently pretty mean? That’s what Chris says anyway. Regardless, Chris owes them some drugs after last month’s advance. But Chris is absolutely no state to deliver.
  • The Indian Land Owners – Apparently the cabin that Chris has chosen to squat in? Yeah, well that is on Indian land. Better yet, they want both Chris and Mike off the land immediately. But they aren’t also above a bribe apparently.
  • The French Researchers – There are three French Researchers. Two alluded to from years ago (photos, audio, conversations). And a third that has continued to live there in the bush away from other humans as much as possible. Oh, did I mention he’s really into some sort of red seeded drugs? Yeah, he really is.
  • UFO Cult Members – alright, so these guys? These guys were so crazy random, I have not a clue as to what to do with them. But there are here too. What I like most about these guys? These parts are acted by the Director and the Screenplay writers. They did have some of the coolest lines in the movie, so there is that. “The celestial messiah will lend his vessel before the end of days…” or something like that?

The Unresolved Strange Goings On In Resolution

Not only were there a ton of players on top of this “two man” low budget thriller, but there were also a lot of really strange and unresolved happenings as well. Occasionally we see things appear and disappear. Photos appear on Michael’s chest when he wakes up. Strange neighbors staring in the window. Video cassettes are discovered that show their futures? Or record things that no one could have possibly recorded. Like when Michael originally tazed Chris? That was video’d somehow. And the videos of their deaths? Lots and lots of really crazy things are starting to happen to Michael.

So much so? Chris, the druggie? Yeah, he’s totally wondering whether or not his interventionist friend? Whether he’s really all there or not. You have that right. It’s all going upside down and all kinds of pear shaped. Even to the point of stretching credibility. Just one of those things happens to me? I’m out. Gone. Forever. But they are happening over and over again. With great regularity.

And as for explanations? Oh, the movie doesn’t lack for potential explanations. The first one we are given is by Chris actually. He posits that Chris has MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) and that he is leaving the information for himself. The Indians? Yeah they let them know their is a burial ground nearby I believe? And that these are holy grounds. The French researcher leads Michael to believe that the two other researchers were looking for monsters and found it in themselves. The UFO NutJobs believe that the interstellar messiah is on his way. So we aren’t lacking in potential resolutions to Resolution.

The Unresolved Conclusion of Resolution

As Michael and Chris realize that really really strange things are happening, Michael releases Chris and the slide projector comes on. We see Chris then Michael dead and in coffins. Soon after? Followed by the computer showing them their future, which is their demise at the hands of the druggies. But instead of freaking out, Michael and Chris use this first hand knowledge to dodge death each time. And eventually the Indians kill the druggies in the cabin… or the other way around, it was loud and confusing on the plane I watched it on. But narratively, it really doesn’t make a difference one way or another. And as the cabin is on fire, and the bodies are burning, Chris flips out as they are seeing something up, high above them.

Chris tells Michael that he doesn’t want to die right now. And that he’ll go to rehab if only Michael takes him immediately. But then Michael looks up and says, “I’m so sorry.” And this is the important bit, “Can we try it another way?” What exactly are we supposed to do with that right there? Well, let’s see if we can come up with a couple of interesting theories that pulls together all these incoherent threads and puts them into a logical solution.

Theories About the Ending of Resolution

So yeah, I’m just spinning these suckers off the top of my head. I really have no great big revealse or any great ideas for how this movie is logically held together.

Theory #1 – Michael Is The Insane One

Personally? My favorite theory is Chris’ first theory, which is that Michael is the insane one here. He’s the one placing the items and pre-recording them in advance. He’s the unreliable narrator. It’s Michael that is the one that needs to get into therapy sooner rather than later.

Problems with Resolution Movie Theory #1 – 

Not much. Other than that we never see any indication this is true. Zero. We see lots of things lacking proof of their existence. But who knows? Weirder things have happened. It is actually the best physical theory we have. Physical, I mean, like… actual, practical realistic… REAL WORLD theory.

I would have expected some hint from the director, from the screenplay writer that Michael was our culprit. And we just don’t get anything like that. For example… nope nope, not naming the movie, but there is a particular time traveling movie where our protagonist is also our bad guy? Right, well in this movie we are given piles of hints. Blackouts, for example. Tiredness. Visions of evil bunnies. Oh, shoot. I think I just identified the movie! hahahah. Oh well. You get the idea. We have none of that here in Resolution.

Theory #2 – It’s That Druggy French Researcher

If anyone is capable, and interested enough, to Punk Michael and Chris, well it’s definitely that French researcher. Who could be recording and delivering the videos? Who is that is strange enough, and interested enough, to try and freak these two guys out? It’s the French Researcher. I mean, he did kill the other two researchers after all. hahaha. He killed them and told everyone that “The were searching for monsters and found them in themselves.” Come on! That is an extraordinarily well thought out line. I mean, he has had 20 years to plan his alibi for the murders! And seriously? He loves studying people but doesn’t love living among them? If this isn’t a resume for a serial killer I do not know what is.

Problems with Resolution Movie Theory #2 –

Pretty much all of it. I guess, he could be the second best real world culprit. Michael being the first. Do I believe he killed the two other researchers? Sure. But I don’t think that is relevant to our story or our narrative about Michael and Chris. He’s strange, for sure. But could he have done all of the wild and near supernatural things to make this movie plot line work? No.

Odds and Ends Movie Theory #3 –

What about the UFO Spiritualists? The escaped asylum inmate? What about the Indians from the reservation? Ok. Sure. Could be. The screenplay authors definitely have given us a whole lot of crazy to chase in this movie. But is it really any of these things? Highly highly doubt it. The director and the writers didn’t give us much plausibility to a real world explanation for this movie. Great directors walk that line between real and unreal, or option 1 and option 2, giving equal credibility and possibility to either. Christopher Nolan is probably the best at this. Think Spinning Top. Or think dream layers. Or better yet Memento.  Regardless, we don’t get any of that here. If Michael was our guy, the French guy, the UFO weirdos?!?, then we would have needed some sort of indication that this is the case other than the idea coming from a burnt out druggy.

Enter Generic Looping Hellspawn Theory Here #4

I don’t have much here. But we have seen lately, a number of looping movies here on taylorholmes.com. Stay, Listen, The Ghost, you know the drill. You hit the end, and you find yourself back at the beginning again. Could it be a Sisyphean thing? A Nietzschean conundrum. Maybe it’s just their sins catching up with them and forcing them to loop back over their time all over again. But basically the theory here is that evil, some evil that Michael and Chris have committed, are forcing them back to the beginning again.

Troubles with Theory #4

Not much really. We don’t have the constraints here of theories 1 through 3 that are set in the real world. We have a pretty good idea that some obstruction or some sort of blockage is keeping them from concluding this movie in a positive way. But the one area in which this theory falls all apart? We don’t have much in the way of signaled sins. Chris is a druggie, but besides that he has no pronounced or defined sins. Michael? He’s helping Chris get clean, though in an unconventional way. See? No real sin that we know of. In Triangle? Oh, we had a sin alright. But not here. So I am not convinced.

Meta Resolution Theory #5

This is where I get to go a little crazy. But the theory that I like here? The theory that makes the absolute sense to me is so meta it’ll be tricky to explain. I mean, I’ll explain it easily enough, but I don’t know if it’ll be in a way that makes an sense to you, the reader. But let me give it a shot.

In this version or vantage, the movie is actually about the muse. It’s about that Greek godess of inspiration. And then it is about creative desire and our own critical spirit. But more specifically, it is about Justin Benson, the screenplay author of Resolution. It’s about his war within himself to create a movie that is a quality movie. It’s about the movie character, the screenplay author, who is now the demon, the hellspawn that is the movie ending. And it is the screenplay characters, that are looking up off of the page, to their god, their creator, and saying to Justin… was that good enough? We can go again. Really we can.

Does that make sense?

Meta Resolution Theory #5 Problems

As the movie was coming through to the end, Michael says more than once… these things that we are finding, they are pushing us towards an ending. The roll of film. The video on the laptop. The slides. All pushing Michael and Chris to these endings. In this way, it is a low budget meta story in the genre of Westworld. But Justin Benson, the screenplay author (and director) is our Dr. Robert Ford. Yes?

Oh wait… I was supposed to give you problems with theory #5. But alas, I cannot. Because I really do think that this ending is all about our Director and author fighting with himself to find an acceptable ending to himself. And what we are given is exactly that. An off screen monster that is threatening and beguiling to our two protagonists. No? I buy it. hahaha.

What are your theories about Resolution? I really didn’t even get to some of the juicier bits in the dialogue that I really badly wanted to talk about. The section where Chris tells Michael that he’s only attempting to save him because of the enormous chip on his shoulder and his desire to look good. I didn’t talk about the quote from Michael to Chris, “I’m sorry about Sara”… like at all. That one line has had me twisted in knots trying to figure it out, and I’ve had zero luck. Does it mean Chris was interested in Sara? Does it mean they were once a thing? Does it mean that at Michael’s and Sara’s wedding she over reacted?

Or what about “We all have temptations, but we keep them in check so that we don’t hurt the people around us.”? Come on, that is ripe for conversation. But if there is no god… and there is no purpose… and all you have is drug addiction? Why not just burn it down. I could go on and on and on. Sorry. I guess I found the movie somewhat more intriguing than I realized I did! hahaha.

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