Wednesday 4 October 2023

Return to Sender - 2015 film review

Return to Sender stars Rosamund Pike in a part she played shortly before earning global stardom as a result of Gone Girl. This film is also a psychological thriller, but the script is definitely not in the Gone Girl league, although Mark Kermode described it as 'an assured revenge thriller'. One of the undoubted strengths of the film is a cast which includes not only Nick Nolte (as Pike's ageing father) but also the likes of Illeana Douglas in a minor role as an estate agent with strange ideas about how to sell a house.

The story begins slowly and I felt that the tension was built quite well, if in rather painstaking fashion. Rosamund Pike is Miranda Wells, a nurse with ambitions to become involved with surgical work. She's a rather chilly character, a loner with a fear of dirt who has a close relationship with her father, but detests his dog. Her work colleagues set her up with a blind date. But then things go horribly wrong.

At one point I was unsure where the story was going, and this degree of uncertainty was quite pleasing. Unfortunately, plot holes began to emerge and several things happened which I found difficult to believe. Even allowing for the fact that the criminal justice system in the US is different from that in Britain, some of what happened was highly implausible.

Alas, the story degenerates in the later stages. It becomes easy to predict what is going to happen - and sure enough, it does. So I ended up with a sense of disappointment, lessened only by the interest of seeing a couple of very accomplished actors, doing their best with the material to hand. This isn't as bad a movie as some reviews suggest, in my opinion, but my guess is that if the same script were sent to Rosamund Pike today, she'd be pretty quick to return it to sender.

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