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Resurrected Review

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Soldier is returned to his family after weeks of being missing in action only to find that he has become a butt for the media and stranger in his family home. To make matters worse, he becomes ostracised by his fellow soldiers.

★★★★

During the Falklands conflict, a young soldier attracted considerable media attention by surfacing weeks after being recorded missing, presumed dead. This story forms the basis of Paul Greengrass's first feature film - only the names have been changed at the family's request, and certain dramatic liberties have been taken in order to tell the story in 96 minutes.

A co-author of Spycatcher and a former World In Action director, Greengrass has crafted an impressive debut, purpose designed to tug the heart-and-head-strings while conjuring up yet more remorse over the Falklands War. The movie is rescued from war-drama mediocrity by David Thewlis, whose sensitive portrayal of the unlucky young soldier, called Kevin Deakin in the film, should wrest the actor from his present rut of character and comedy roles.

The 18-year old Deakin, suffering from amnesia and exhaustion after being lost in battle, returns to his numbed family after an unsatisfactory investigation by the military. His ordeal supposedly over, Deakin soon discovers that if war is heck, home is hell: the media who adored him dead are now quick to smear him as a deserter, pointing out that the soldier's unaccounted for days were spent wandering the Falklands wilderness.

And although Deakin is credited with saving the life of another member of the platoon, those from his macho Lancashire hometown begin to believe the tabloids. Even worse, a return to barracks results in a sickeningly vivid mock trial by his peers.

Thewlis plays Deakin as a young man who acted more upon instinct than military finesse, and the character's final spiral into depression and disillusionment is a superbly subtle performance. Unfortunately, the good guys and the bad guys are too easily discerned: the military, especially two diabolically vicious platoon mates, are presented as inhuman counterparts to Deakin's loving mother (Rita Tushingham), dubious father (Tom Bell) and confused but caring girlfriend (Rudi Davis).

Greengrass's rational analysis of events rivals, in a different area, that of 'The Accused', thus rendering 'Resurrected' a cynical condemnation of the worst that human beings can do to each other: all the more depressing because this is, essentially a true story.

A sensitive, carefully directed portrayal of a true story in what is a pretty bleak look at humanity.