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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.79%
Worth A Look47.37%
Average: 36.84%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Return, The (2004)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Quick to come, quick to go."
3 stars

The father of two teenage boys inexplicably returns home after a twelve-year absence and takes his sons on a planned weekend fishing expedition.

It becomes clear early on, at least to the younger son, that the father doesn’t appear particularly keen on his parental position, but is quick to demand and assert his authority. (The older brother wants to please, at whatever cost.) Andrey Zvyagintsev’s film is not big on action or development, but rather observation, and as any silent participant of an oppressive weekend will tell you, it’s a frustrating bore. Again we have this parent/child alienation that by the end, is just as unexplored and undeveloped as at its introduction. What seems even more frustrating with Zvyagintsev’s treatment is that there is a potential for so much more. But he would rather play a game where he reveals none of the mysterious elements that he introduces (what has the father dug up from the ground, and why?), and without them serving as any greater purpose or explanation for being there. The Return has many of the right elements being utilized for maximized potential — the cold ambience, the shimmering photography, the moody score, the pensive performance of Ivan Dobronravov, the piqued interest of the viewer to want to know more — but Zvyagintsev settles for the mastery of several notes on key, and the rest completely out of tune. Further irony is that shortly after shooting was completed, the actor who played the older brother, Vladimir Garin, drowned in the same lake where this was shot. With Konstantin Lavronenko.

[See it if you must.]

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originally posted: 05/13/04 08:21:17
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/12/09 futurestar a bad few days in a father's return - there's a allegory here 4 stars
4/04/06 Gogol That's not irony! It's not even coincidence! 5 stars
3/20/06 Jason B Unexplored and Undeveloped? Muskewitz, don't be lazy and use your imagination! Ditto below! 5 stars
12/18/05 johnnyred Why? That's the whole point...there is no why it is the journey. 5 stars
3/24/05 indrid cold It's so easy to overrate arty films, but it is an unsettling, symbolic experience. 4 stars
7/07/04 Elizabeth 3-1/2 stars. A palpable sense of dread; awkward ending, however. 3 stars
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  01-Jul-2004 (M)

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