The Return (Vozvrashcheniye) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Return (Vozvrashcheniye) Reviews

Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
March 27, 2013
The story, set in contemporary Russia, seems unexceptional at the start. Yet it plays out against a vast wilderness of shorelines and lakes, and turns tantalizing ambiguity into urgent mystery.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
March 27, 2013
The long and eventful fishing trip Dad drags the boys on is simultaneously a very real voyage through the Russian wilderness and also, like, a Jungian trip, man.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
March 27, 2013
Throughout his expertly controlled film, Zvyagintsev never allows a break in the clouds to provide some reassuring sign that the brothers are on solid footing.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 27, 2013
Beautifully structured and emotionally wrenching.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
March 27, 2013
Zvyagintsev gets formidable concentration from his youthful actors, and his storytelling moves with the simplicity -- calm, chiselled, and suggestive -- of a fable.
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Deborah Young
Variety
June 4, 2009
Constructed like an eerie, metaphorical thriller, this tense, riveting character study offers viewers nearly two hours of emotions with a stunning pay-off no one will be expecting.
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Zvyagintsev's Venice prize-winner is a model of suspenseful storytelling. The acting, too, is terrific. Very highly recommended indeed.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
August 20, 2004
What begins as a simple road trip becomes a spiritual journey, the classic passage from boy to man.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
August 20, 2004
To any masochist who's been pining for all those cliched tropes associated with Russian cinema -- ponderous pacing and arcane symbolism shot through a lens darkly -- this will seem a welcome blast from the past.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
July 16, 2004
A quiet film.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Marta Barber
Miami Herald
May 28, 2004
This film by Andrei Zvyagintsev touches a nerve.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mark Jenkins
Washington Post
May 21, 2004
Poetic yet efficient, The Return constructs a powerful mood without indulging in brooding, overlong scenes.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
May 21, 2004
The film has an eerie sense of conviction in its simplicity, and the two primary antagonists -- Dad and Ivan -- are brilliantly acted.
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Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
May 21, 2004
As frustrating as it is rewarding.
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
May 14, 2004
Zvyagintsev's measured pacing adds to the film's mystery. And Mikhail Kritchman's photography delivers visual verse after visual verse.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
May 14, 2004
An enveloping drama in which the camera speaks as eloquently as any dialogue and the performances are grounded in the bedrock of experience.
| Original Score: A-
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Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 13, 2004
It's original --- an elemental, unforgettable experience.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 6, 2004
As haunting as it is perplexing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 30, 2004
Does not conceal information from the audience, which would be a technique of manipulation, but from the boys, which is a technique of drama. The movie is not about the father's purpose but the boys' confusion and alarm.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
April 29, 2004
A stunning contemporary fable about a divided family in the wilderness -- a simple, riveting film that almost achieves greatness.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
April 2, 2004
A tense, expertly acted Russian film clouded by its intentional ambiguity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
April 2, 2004
Shimmers with imagination and endless possibility -- when it's over, you feel like you've seen something important, perhaps the birth of a new filmmaking talent.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
April 1, 2004
Spare and allegorical in the best senses of the terms, The Return can be likened to both Faulkner and Dostoevski. It has the mournful tenor and psychological complexity of the former, the fatalism and grim irony of the latter.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Sheri Linden
Hollywood Reporter
March 6, 2004
With its elegiac mood and pulse-quickening suspense, the pared-down narrative is an unforgettable depiction of primal longing for the father.
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 5, 2004
The Return is a startling, frustrating first feature, and one that lingers long.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
February 18, 2004
The whole might be an exercise in gossamer myth, signifying a dream-in-life. Still, it never quite realizes the oneiric quality because, paradoxically, of its best achievement -- the performances of the two boys.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 12, 2004
While most films are fortunate if they succeed on any level, The Return works easily on several, making as powerful a mark emotionally as it does visually and even allegorically.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
February 12, 2004
Effortlessly, [Zvyagintsev] creates an aura of mystery and dread.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
February 11, 2004
Seethes with tumultuous inner life, and the questions it asks, and serenely refuses to answer, are ancient, fundamental and resolutely non-psychological.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
February 11, 2004
One of those great, unnerving movies that lingers in the mind long after the lights have come up.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Dave Kehr
New York Times
February 5, 2004
The stunning feature film debut of Andrey Zvyagintsev, a Russian director who here renews the grand tradition of Russian cinematic mysticism epitomized by Andrei Tarkovsky.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
February 5, 2004
A stunning debut, a haunting film.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
February 5, 2004
Brilliantly acted and photographed, yet strangely frustrating fable.
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
February 3, 2004
Primordial and laconic, this remarkably assured debut feature has the elegant simplicity of its title.