Resurrected (1989) starring Tom Bell, Rita Tushingham, David Thewlis, Rudi Davies, Michael Pollitt, Christopher Fulford, Ewan Stewart, Peter Gunn directed by Paul Greengrass Movie Review

Resurrected (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5

David Thewlis as Kevin Deakin in Resurrected (1989)

The Lost Soldier

Whilst one of the reasons to watch "Resurrected" is if you are a fan of director Paul Greengrass this is his debut movie, but it is actually a worthwhile watch even if your are not a fan. It paints this very interesting picture of the perception of what a soldier is, especially one who returns from war and the stark reality of the truth. Yes by that I am saying that "Resurrected" is a story of a soldier suffering psychological trauma from fighting in the Falklands War but at the same time it is commenting on the perception of being a soldier built by propaganda, TV and movies and what the truth is.

Seven weeks after the Falklands War is over soldier Kevin Deakin (David Thewlis - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) miraculously shows up at a farm on the island having officially been declared dead and a funeral having taken place for him back in England. Confused he can't remember much of what happened 7 weeks earlier and finds himself being welcomed home the hero. But some doubt whether he is a hero and whilst dealing with the trauma of what he witnesses Kevin also has to deal with the speculation of him being deserter.

Peter Gunn as Bonner in Resurrected (1989)

It's very easy to miss the point and end up a little bit lost by "Resurrected" because we have this interesting opening about Deakin appearing 7 weeks after the war is over. With him suffering from amnesia he doesn't know what happened and as we watch him welcomed home a hero by the family and those from the village he grew up in we start to wonder what the truth is. This is heightened by the fact we see a press headline which suggests he deserted and we witness the animosity of other soldiers in his regiment when he returns to the barracks.

But the thing is that whilst we want to know what happened the truth is that "Resurrected" appears to be about the reality of being a soldier and what the common perception is thanks to years of wartime propaganda movies. In the early scenes where first we witness the memorial service for Kevin then the heroes welcome when he returns it sets up this image of a soldier not being a normal man but a hero. But this becomes conflicted because it is apparent that war has changed Deakin, flashbacks make him unsettled and not the man his girlfriend Julie knew and she is not the only one as no one seems to understand why he is different and not a proud warrior. This conflict increases when speculation comes over whether he deserted and with that shadow hanging over him those who praised him as a hero try to cover up out of embarrassment.

That is just the public perception and then we also see how the military deal with this, and remembering when this was made, protecting the image of men being heroes. The initial enquiry on Deakin's return is hurried and so obviously a cover up, hiding the truth quickly from the outside world. And then there is how the other soldiers in the regiment deal with him, seeing him as a tarnish on their image. All of which becomes clear in a very clever ending as we watch Deakin walk away from a TV set playing one of those old wartime propaganda movies which showed men as being heroes who wouldn't imagine of showing any mental scarring.

Now whilst Greengrass delivers a typically bleak looking Britain where even the celebrations on Deakin's return look bleak it looks authentic, remembering this was made at the ends of the 80s. But it is David Thewlis as Deakin who makes the biggest impression because it is his performance, the restraint in delivering emotion, the sense of aloneness and that constant element of ambiguity which makes him both believable and fascinating.

What this all boils down to is that you could say "Resurrected" is just another movie about a soldier who returns from conflict mentally scarred. But in truth it is more than that because it highlights the differences between the truth and the perceived image of a soldier built up over decades by the press and media.