One expects certain things to happen in a genre film but you know the popcorn is the savior when every stereotypical milestone is thrown in. The story of a single woman coping with an obsessed landlord is a tale that has been told so many times that The Resident seems to have made up its mind long before you bought the ticket. It doesn’t even try hard to do something different!
The Resident Story
Juliet, an ER doctor, (Hilary Swank) is desperately trying to look for a new apartment to get over the heartbreak of her ex, Jack (Lee Pace), cheating on her Ki Residences. Her prayers are answered when she finds a lovely apartment in the heart of New York City for peanuts. She even hits off well with her rather good-looking but reticent landlord Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Juliet feels someone’s presence in her apartment but blames that on her loneliness and doesn’t make much of it. She thinks the eerie presence is August (Christopher Lee), Max’s octogenarian grandfather who seems to have taken a liking for her and even showers her with lovely presents. Obviously drawn to each other both Juliet and Max try to explore their feelings but things don’t go down well–Max spurns Juliet when she tries to kiss him and a few days later Juliet stops Max just as they are about to make love for she can’t seem to get Jack out of her mind. Juliet decides to give Jack a second chance but Max doesn’t like it. He starts following Juliet around the city and soon the resident realizes that her landlord isn’t the reserved man she thought of him to be.
Directed by the Finnish director Antti Jokinen, The Resident gets the atmosphere right but then this is a setting that an average viewer is so well versed with that one can’t give Jokinen any real credit. The film keeps you gripped enough in the initial stages but once it starts ticking all the formulaic points you stop bothering. The fact that Hilary Swank is one of the producers of the film is good enough to convince you that this is going to be a vanity project. The film works on a one-point agenda–highlight Hilary Swank. In spite of being a two-time Oscar winner Swank has never been considered a star or a wounded butterfly or even the damsel in distress; so The Resident has a little bit of everything to show us just how convincing Ms. Swank can be.
Final Words on The Resident
In addition to being a genre piece with clichés galore The Resident also suffers the burden of being an indie film. Oscillating between playing out like a slasher film and a meandering mood piece where everything about the protagonist right from how she applies overnight cream to the sweat on her forehead as she jogs shall be revealed to us, The Resident is old wine in older bottle. Strangely the thing that will entertain you the most about while watching The Resident is how it tries to be like Ridely Scott’s Alien. The strong resemblance between Hilary Swank and Sigourney Weaver, the manner in which Jokinen makes the building where the action takes place look like the ship Ripley’s on and the climatic chase…there is a lot of Alien here.