Return to Sender

"OK"

Return to Sender Review


This intriguing drama takes on some darkly resonant themes with such an oddly bright and cheerful tone that it forces the audience to pay attention. As it continues, the terrific Rosamund Pike uses conflicting emotions to explore the aftermath of a horrific assault. But while there's growing suspense in the plot, the bigger tension comes from the viewers themselves as they wonder whether it's going to unravel into melodramatic rubbish.

Pike plays Miranda, a cleanliness-obsessed nurse with ambition to get a better job and move to a bigger house, partly to stop her single dad (Nick Nolte) from worrying about her. Then a nurse colleague (Rumer Willis) sets her up on a blind date. William (Shiloh Fernandez) is flirty and sexy, but after he brutally attacks her he goes to prison, leaving Miranda to put her life back together. Surprisingly, she takes a proactive approach that includes contacting William and trying to achieve some sort of reconciliation. Miranda's father is horrified by this, especially when William is released on parole and turns up to help her fix up her house.

This insinuating set-up keeps the audience guessing whether this is a complex look at how people wrestle with the fall-out from a violent rape, or perhaps either Miranda or William are up to something more nefarious. So whether it's sparking hope or dread, it's relatively gripping. And Pike is superb as a quirky woman who continually faces her fears. This includes both connecting with William and trying to befriend her dad's scary dog Benny. "Hating him only hurts me," she says pointedly. Nolte is reliably solid as her wheezy, concerned dad. And Fernandez is utterly magnetic as the mercurial William. All of the characters are defined by rather simplistic filmmaking shorthand, but the actors give them plenty of weight.

 

So it's frustrating that director Fouad Mikati and screenwriters Patricia Beauchamp and Joe Gossett can't quite hold their nerve, never quite developing a proper dramatic exploration of Miranda's trauma and also nervously sidestepping the horror-thriller aspects that the plot's final act so gleefully tips into. But the most problematic aspect to the film is the way it uses the issue of rape as merely a catalyst for the story while never even attempting to depict the true impact this kind of violence has on the victim, her family or her friends. So in this end this feels like an undercooked genre movie, which is hugely disappointing for a film with a cast this good and a premise with this much potential.


Return To Sender Trailer

 



Return to Sender

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd May 2015

Distributed by: First Look Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Fouad Mikati

Producer: Candice Abela-Mikati,

Starring: as William Finn

Also starring:

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