Resurrected is the debut film from Paul Greengrass, who would go on to great acclaim with his entries in the Bourne franchise and films like United 93 and Captain Phillips. Greengrass would end up struggling in the ’90s, however, mainly retreating back into television work. It wasn’t till the turn of the millennium, with Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, that people really took note of his work. Mark Kermode, however, was a fan since Resurrected, where his got his first quote ever on a poster.
The film is undeniably a little televisual, Greengrass cut his teeth at Granada television and their documentary series World in Action, after all. Like most of Greengrass’ films, with the exception of the Bourne films, it’s based on a true-life story, but much to his regret he had to fictionalise it, as he explains in the interview that’s part of the special features here. The basis was the story of a British soldier, Philip Williams, who went missing during the Falklands war. He wandered back to his camp with amnesia, and was renamed Kevin Deakin. Quickly he was condemned as a deserter by the army, the media, and his home town; even his own family struggles to believe his story.
I’ve never been a big fan of Greengrass’ films, especially his use of “shaky cam” in his later films. But this film is far less busy in its cinematography, and does in the end look like a decent TV movie that Film4 would’ve premiered in the late ’80s. The films’ two main strengths are a very strong lead performance from David Thewlis as Deakin, and an extremely brutal climax. It’s not some forgotten gem, but it’s perfectly decent, and Steve Coogan also makes his film debut as “Youth 2.” If you’re a Greengrass fan, it’s a must.
The disc from Indicator includes 2011 interviews with Greengrass and Thewlis and a recently filmed interview with co-star Rita Tushingham. It also includes The Imperial War Museum (IWM) Oral History with Philip Williams: Conducted in 1999, which serves as an alternative commentary track for the film. The trailer is included along with a booklet with new and archival writing on the film.