Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ★★★★½

I don't even know at this point. There's just something so right about Milla Jovovich and Paul WS Anderson telling stories within this franchise, something just clicks so effortlessly and fluidly it becomes something of a singular viewing experience. With The Final Chapter, Anderson transitions from the pristine hallways and techno-corridors he's so often praised for into a world of dirt and grime; saturated with browns, oranges and yellows. The editing here is superb, something I normally don't notice but it's fluidity was propulsive, impossible not to note because of it's utter brilliance. Anderson transitions from composing images to orchestrating cuts; he makes the key shift into finding the energy in the editing. The grueling, enduring violence of this franchise has now bled into it's very DNA, the film is built from the hypothetical ground up with a focus on this. I think it's key to note that Retribution largely dealt in artifice and corporate-clean aesthetic for justifiable reason, and subsequently The Final Chapter finds it's home in a sort of wasteland; the brutal, frayed edges on Anderson's action here reflects that relocation. The violence truly serves the narrative.

The Final Chapter, being the supposed finale to this fascinating franchise, undergoes a sort of thematic evolution after Retribution. As I said, that film dealt in artifice, the loss of the individual and that eerie plasticity; and from that Anderson found ideas of humanity, companionship and trust. It relies on that digital, futuristic look to tell it's story to great effect. But as Alice's journey leads her into the outside world; she's left scavenging for sustenance and existing with a stark loneliness; the film sensibly attains a more grounded, human feel. It's about identity, or rather Alice's reconciling with her lack of one. She now embraces her alien role within the human race, wearing her role as a Messianic figure like a badge of honor. No longer does she reject the life she's been offered, the questions she once concerned herself with now have shifted to the back of her mind. She finds the value of the self within the artifice of her existence, the culmination of her journey through this ever-worsening apocalypse.

As I said in my Retribution review, I understand these won't be universally praised. But as someone who has come to know and love Alice through this franchise, who has come to be deeply enthralled by her horrific, twisting and turning search for meaning in an absurdly violent world; The Final Chapter moved me. Anderson's directorial work here astounded me, there's no way any one human should be able to reel all the tangents he sets loose in this expertly. Somehow, in a franchise spanning six films with an aggressively incongruous story; this ends in a rather small, intimate way I never saw coming. It's satisfying and moving, an hour and fifty or so minutes of iconic images moving at a rapid, somehow cohesive pace. It's pretty damn glorious.

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