Friday, February 10, 2012

Movie with Abe: Return (Capsule Review)

Directed by Liza Johnson
Released February 10, 2012

There are many movies about soldiers coming back from “over there.” Some are fictional dramatizations, while others are harrowing documentaries about the effects of returning, like last year’s Oscar-nominated short “Poster Girl” and this year’s “Hell and Back Again.” Scripted narratives have the opportunity to delve into what people are really thinking and to catch them in their most honest and uncensored states. “Return,” which focuses on Kelli, returning from war to her tranquil home life, is an affecting drama with strong performances and a powerful script. In the lead role, Linda Cardellini is almost unrecognizable from her time on “Freaks & Geeks,” having grown up to a certain kind of uncomfortable forced maturity. Michael Shannon (“Boardwalk Empire”) takes on an unusual role for him, the supportive husband, and John Slattery (“Mad Men”) stands out in a supporting part as a disgruntled fellow veteran. Most notably, this film’s military characters don’t want to be defined, and struggle to explain to everyone else that there is no one thing that they did or saw that has changed them. That sense of being unable to share a feeling is what works most exceptionally in this quiet and unassuming drama.


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