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As an actor, Rebecca Hall has built a distinct body of dramatic work, embodying the lives of women at moments of severe stress and crisis. With films like 2016’s Christine and last year’s The Night House, she earned acclaim for portraying characters whose professional accomplishments and poised demeanor come unraveled amid mental duress and intense trauma.

The confidence she displays in her career, joined with the emotional intensity of her acting, makes Hall uniquely suited to the new film Resurrection, a work that requires both incredible strength and intense vulnerability. What also sets Hall apart from so many of her peers is how she’s taken her career into her own hands — she served as executive producer on Resurrection and The Night House, and seeks out demanding and challenging roles in an industry that so often casts aside women entering middle age.

Inhabiting a sleek and icy corporate milieu that’s visually just a few degrees chillier than Succession, Margaret (Hall) is an accomplished woman in the biotech industry, the kind of supervisor her interns seek out for life advice. It’s clear that her world is small and micromanaged, all part of a well-oiled routine, but the relative comfort of her life and the confidence she displays in the workplace are a cover for the pain she’s experienced and the festering wounds just below the surface. At its outset, Resurrection seems grounded in realism, an unsparing look at how trauma can live on inside you even when its source is gone from your life.

Margaret holds it all together for years, until her manicured reality falls apart in a single moment: At a biotech conference, out of the corner of her eye, she sees a long-lost demon from her past. In what has to be one of the most truthful cinematic depictions of being triggered, Margaret enters immediate fight-or-flight mode and has to escape, her senses heightening and overwhelming. Even running out of the room isn’t enough — fresh air is no relief, and upon bursting out of the building she’s swarmed by the oppressive industrial noise that soundtracks city life. Soon, she begins to see David (Tim Roth) everywhere, and we learn about years of torture and abuse she endured at his hands before the put-together life she now leads. As one of cinema’s most gifted chameleons, Roth is expertly cast as a purely evil man who hides the violence of his words beneath a facade of normalcy and paternal confidence.

Given its relatively restrained and claustrophobic use of interior locations, Resurrection often feels somewhat theatrical, particularly in its defining scene, an unbroken monologue in which Margaret opens up about her relationship with David for the first time. There’s no blood or gore, but it’s undoubtedly the film’s most horrifying moment, as Margaret’s all-too-real experience of a manipulative and controlling partner turns into a singularly unsettling experience of body horror. The walls close in and darkness swells as Margaret reveals her pain, and though it makes for a purposely suffocating viewing experience, it’s a testament to Hall’s skill as a performer that she could sit with such horrific material so unflinchingly. As the threads of her character’s carefully woven life are ripped apart, Hall’s performance turns from stately and controlled, to somewhere in between Gena Rowlands spiraling in a John Cassavetes movie and the badass heroine of a revenge thriller coming for blood.

Resurrection consistently pushes the viewer into uncertain territory, never quite acknowledging whether Margaret’s experiences are grounded in reality, or the physical manifestation of her internal trauma. Either way, it’s clear that for Margaret, all of this is real, at the very least emotionally — the pain and abuse David inflicted is still living like a parasite inside her. You can take moments of the film as a dream or delusion, but there’s no denying that the trauma of enduring gendered violence is all too real.

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