The Return Screen 4 articles

The Return

2003

The Return Poster
  • The Return begins as a mysterious quest, shades into a discomfiting thriller, then a survival story, and finally a tragic parable. Primordial and laconic, this remarkably assured debut feature has the elegant simplicity of its title. The mode is sustained, the structure overt. Some may be put off by the movie's cool technique and boldly closed form, but it clearly announces Zvyagintsev as a director to watch.

  • Mr. Zvyagintsev creates a most moving tension between his archetypal themes and the bristling specificity of his characters. The film, which opens today in New York, is at once highly naturalistic and dreamily abstract, playing out its mythic themes through vibrantly detailed characterizations (and remarkable performances by the entire cast). "The Return" announces the arrival of a major new talent.

  • Beautifully structured and emotionally wrenching, this 2003 debut feature immediately establishes Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev as a master... A former actor, Zvyagintsev elicits first-rate performances from his male leads, but what registers most is the sharpness and intensity of his vision of nature and childhood experience.

  • It moves like a thesis for a class on Tarkovsky, but Zvyagintsev has a unique feel for texture, particularly the way rigid orders (chain-link fence, corrugated metal, wooden planks) warp into disorderly curves over time. It’s like the Texas section of The Tree Of Life, a primal story of two brothers experiencing the deep disappointment of discovering their father is just a man like everyone else.