Saturday, January 17, 2015

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011)

IMDb plot summary: An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.
Directed by Jon Foy.


As this movie got going, I was prepared to be disappointed by the ending. A documentary that sets out to solve an unsolved mystery could rarely be as satisfying as a fictional mystery, because life just isn't that tidy. To my surprise, the film's resolution is not only satisfying but also fairly moving. When the almost-definite tiler is discovered and is clearly not interested in revealing himself, the filmmakers and the amateur detective back away and let go, instead of pushing for an interview. That, in my opinion, was not only the kind and decent thing to do, but also the most interesting in terms of storytelling. The main question may have been mostly cleared up, but leaving a little mystery intact works out really well.

There are a few moments in here that don't really work for me, such as the two times when the film suddenly decides to delve into the protagonist's life. These sections feel extremely out of place, especially when the rest of the movie is pretty tightly focused, and they're never referred to again. That being said, overall, I was definitely intrigued by this and enjoyed watching it. The mystery is fascinating to watch unfold, and I was delighted that there was a plausible answer to it all.

4 stars.

Flickchart: #699 out of 2301, below Godzilla and above The Intouchables.

1 comment:

Nathan Chase said...

Glad to see you also thought the personal life detours were completely out of place. It's a decent doc, but could have been a lot better.