Sundance 2022 Day 6 Recap
Day 6 has come and gone, which means it's time for some more recaps. Yesterday featured quite the triple feature of female-driven films with Resurrection, Sharp Stick, and Palm Trees and Power Lines. Here are my thoughts on each of them.
On the surface, Resurrection seems all too simple. One day a mysterious man (Tim Roth) from Margaret's (Rebecca Hall) past shows up to threaten the life she's built for her and her daughter. Rebecca Hall has been on a Sundance roll with her directorial debut Passing debuting at the festival last year, as well as starring in The Night House and Christine in recent years. She doesn't let down her streak here--in fact, she may give the best performance of them all in Resurrection, as a woman shaken to the core from the trauma of her past. The film is so dark and incredibly messed up, you can't take your eyes off the screen and what Rebecca Hall is doing in every scene. She gets some help too though from Tim Roth, who turns in an incredibly sinister supporting role as David, the man hell-bent on terrorizing her. Resurrection walks the finest line between thriller and horror, and it does so with ease. I love that you're never really sure what is real and who you're supposed to believe. You can't help but feel unsettled all throughout, but especially after Hall delivers one of the most chilling monologues in recent memory. This is one that I can foresee needing multiple viewings in being able to unpack everything that's going on, especially with that ending that leaves your jaw on the floor. RATING: 8/10
Sarah Jo (Kristine Forseth) is a shy, naive 26-year-old virgin determined to learn everything there is to know about sex. And who better to teach her than her employer, the married father Josh (Jon Bernthal) of the child she babysits. The two quickly enter into an affair, and she becomes absolutely obsessed with her spiritual awakening. Josh encourages her to find a favorite porn star, that way she can study what she likes and dislikes and can get a real education. That's really all there is to know about Sharp Stick without spoiling what happens in the relationship. Kristine Forseth plays Sarah Jo's wide-eyed innocence well, even if she can't really sell the character's actions taken in the latter part of the film. Jon Bernthal as always was great, and the film definitely suffers when he isn't around (which is a big problem for the film's second half). I understood what the film was going for with where the relationship went, and while it was certainly true to life--the character arc it gives Sarah Jo just doesn't feel satisfying. In the end, the film kinda just goes off the rails and can't quite achieve a meaningful conclusion, or really an idea of what the point was. RATING: 5.5/10
PALM TREES AND POWER LINES
A young and impressionable 17-year-old girl named Lea (Lily McInerny) embarks on a relationship with a 34-year old man (Jonathan Tucker) in Palm Trees and Power Lines, a drama that all too often makes its audience feel sick to their stomachs. The film is an impressive--albeit incredibly hard to watch--portrayal of grooming. I honestly felt more queasiness watching this film than any of the horror offerings this year, and the feeling did not leave me very soon after. This movie is incredibly well made, with really effective and believable performances by all. The subtleties of manipulation and isolation are all on display, and honestly, it's chilling to watch Lea be seduced by the promise of love and affection. You want to just climb into the screen and save her from this horrible situation. In the end, I felt very frustrated with the film, though it's certainly stayed with me. Overall, I would have been able to stomach this movie a lot more with a different ending, though I can see the importance of why it ended how it did. Still, it's a hard film to like...even if I can respect what it's trying to do. RATING: 7/10