There are films that go easy on the dialogue because they just don't have a lot to say: set a camera up in front of an actress who looks good pouting in existential ennui, throw something classy on the soundtrack and just hope it all works out. Then there are the films that have plenty to say, spend even longer than they need to say it, and you wish they would just shut up already. Andrei Zvyagintsev's 2003 festival hit The Return is a film without a lot of dialogue or story, and wonderfully so: More words and action would have spoiled it.
Two young boys, Andrey (Vladimir Garin) and Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov), live with their mother and grandmother, the only memory of their father a single photograph of the man they've never seen. After a seemingly innocuous incident when Ivan, the younger brother, refuses to jump off a high tower into the water and is later scapegoated by weak-spined Andrey and their friends (the importance of this only becomes apparent at the shocking climax), their mother announces that their father (Konstantin Lavronenko) has returned. He's a gray-haired question mark with a sour puss and a slight air of danger; no information is given about where he's been, or why he's back.
Continue reading: The Return Review