Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Return (2003) Film Review
Reviewed by: David Haviland
One of the disappointing aspects of the Harry Potter films is how poorly our child actors compare with America's best, by which, of course, I mean Haley Joel Osment. It seems clear that Britain doesn't have a child actor in that class. It seems equally clear, after watching The Return, that Russia does.
The actor in question is Ivan Dobronravov, who plays 12-year-old Ivan. The film opens with a powerful scene, as Ivan and his older brother's friends dare each other to jump off a high tower into rocky waters. Ivan refuses and is called a coward, but he demonstrates a different kind of courage by staying on top of the tower, in freezing conditions, refusing to give in.
Ivan and his brother are taken on a fishing trip by a man who claims to be their father. The older brother, Andrey (Vladimir Garin), is desperate for a male role model and welcomes the stranger, but Ivan is stubbornly hostile and refuses to trust this man, who may or may not have deserted them.
The film is beautifully shot and loaded with symbolism. The story is simply told, and powerfully evokes that sense of rage and powerlessness that comes with childhood.
It is, however, terribly slow, yet builds to a climax that's well worth your patience.Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2004