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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting, but......
I ordered The Returned when on holiday in France as I'd missed the first three episodes of the Channel 4 series, expecting it to be the televised programme and not the original film. However, I was not disappointed and was intrigued from start to finish. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Channel 4 "The Returned" for a different slant.
Published 13 months ago by Smitty

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stillness of the dead
This review is of the 2004 feature film 'Les Revenants' (in English 'The Returned', US title 'They Came Back'). The film runs for 102 minutes, is presented on the Arrow DVD in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (16:9) in stereo, in the original French with English subtitles. The picture and sound are crisp and clear throughout.

I will add here that...
Published 13 months ago by Stephen E. Andrews


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting, but......, 2 Aug 2013
By 
Smitty (S. Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
I ordered The Returned when on holiday in France as I'd missed the first three episodes of the Channel 4 series, expecting it to be the televised programme and not the original film. However, I was not disappointed and was intrigued from start to finish. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Channel 4 "The Returned" for a different slant.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ordinary town with an very out of the ordinary population., 12 Sep 2013
By 
Mrs. J. Eves (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
Already a fan of the BBC series, I was keen to see where the ideas had originated. The film is without doubt less refined, but it's 'matter-of-fact' approach to the problem is so realistic. There is no real conclusion, no reasoning why they have returned (and no attempt to explain) a very painful scenario with a returned infant (clearly the model for scary Victor in the TV series) and no really scary bits. So what makes it so good?
Its normality - to put it in a nut-shell, and this is what the TV drama also attempted to achieve.
Although slightly dated I will watch it again, I don't think there are any hidden clues, just what you see. It has certainly left me wondering about the state of humanity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Say bonjour to this au jourd'hui, 21 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this by mistake expecting to have got my hands on the recent C4 series. Although not what I had in mind this was a very enjoyable film.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stillness of the dead, 18 Aug 2013
By 
Stephen E. Andrews "Writer" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
This review is of the 2004 feature film 'Les Revenants' (in English 'The Returned', US title 'They Came Back'). The film runs for 102 minutes, is presented on the Arrow DVD in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (16:9) in stereo, in the original French with English subtitles. The picture and sound are crisp and clear throughout.

I will add here that I have NOT seen the spinoff TV series, apart from the odd clip while channel-hopping during the shows' run on terrestrial TV. I hate watching TV series without having seen an opening episode, so decided to wait until I could catch a box set version. Being a lifelong enthusiasm of the fantastic, I immediately realised the story had a supernatural or science fiction element, since the word 'Revenant' has long been used as a generic term for people who return from the dead. The most familiar use of the word in recent popular culture is in Anne Rice's 'Interview With the Vampire' (1976), when vampires Louis and Claudia encounter a classic, ravening old-world bloodsucker in an Eastern European village. While I am reasomably expert on the fantastic in literatire and film (having published two books on the subject), I have no views on the series so won't be making a comparison with it - instead, I'm judging the film on its own merits. In considering the film as part of the 'zombie' subgenre, I'd direct readers to my review of the MGM DVD of 'The Last Man on Earth'/'Panic in Year Zero' here on Amazon UK, which outlines the early history of what is erroneously called the 'zombie' film.

The plot: Without explanation, 70 million people, some dead for a decade, appear alive and physically restored. In an unnamed French town, we see the revenants walking through the streets calmly, in droves, mostly wearing light-coloured clothing. The authorities set up dormitory centres for the revenants to be housed in until they can be reunited with their families. The response to the revenants' coming is calm, measured, unhysterical, almost purely bureaucratic. The revenants themselves seem serene, showing little emotion, but offering no threat to the populace. In this sense, they are totally unlike the ghouls of 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968) or 'The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue' (1974) or any of their flesh-eating successors.

The film focuses on three particular revenants and their immediate former loved ones: the parents of a little boy named Sylvain, the wife of the Mayor and Matthieu, former lover of Rachel. While Sylvain and Martha are welcomed back into their respective menages, Rachel is uncertain about resuming her relationship with Matthieu, who, like many of the revenants, has returned to his work in urban/industrial planning.

The story of 'Les Revenants' is shown as much as told, with very little exposition or infodump - most of this comes in the form of discussions between members of a council set up to deal with the reintegration of the revenants back into local society. Very few of the viewers' questions about the nature of the revenants' return are answered or addressed here (for example, none of them have decayed and any injuries that caused death have vanished) and those that are are revealed gradually. We can, however, see the revenants' detachment, which is pellucidly clear and fitting perfectly into the almost ambient tone of the film - the town is almost always sunny, summery, clean and still, with a near-Utopian feel. The music, subtle and also ambient, provides a perfect backwash for the visuals. The acting is understated, subtle, realistic. Overall, the film has a becalmed atmosphere, mirroring the quiet detachment of the revenants themselves, who are emotionally distanced from their former families, friends and loved ones, while still interacting normally, if diffidently, toward them.

It is during these 'council' discussions we learn of two scientific facts about the revenants and of two scientific solutions that are arrived at on how to manage their waywardness (no spoilers here, I'm afraid, you'll have to watch the film for details). At this point in the feature it feels as if the film may become an SF movie, but this does not come to pass and the lack of explanation for the events we've seen and the climax that follows can therefore only be viewed as supernatural, immediately putting the film into the fantasy category. All good SF and most good Fantasy is metaphor, of course, so this film is best enjoyed as a metaphor for the sleepwaking nature of our society, which will struggle more with forced inactivity and leisure as the world grows increasingly overpopulated and a combination of economic and technological-automated advances creates greater unemployment and a sense of disenfranchisment amongst a growing mass of 'living dead' people amongst us, who, feeling useless, seek an unobtainable transendence - but how?

A simpler way of viewing the film is by drawing a basic moral from it: when people die, we move on eventually, no matter if we still love them. Even is our most missed lover, friend or family member came back from the dead, could we accomodate them? No. They are dead and our world has changed irrevocably. Let them go and life goes on.

As for the 'climax' of the film, there are some quietly chilling moments, but no real melodrama despite some effective hints of menace. Never quite becoming a horror film - though you could argue the horror is very subtle, which is a good argument - 'Les Revenants' relies almost entirely upon atmosphere and style. Where it fails is in the lack of development of ideas, something which belies many of the more effective films of the fantastic recently - like 'Monsters', which looks and feels great, there's a long wait for a payoff and it's not enough, like 'Berberian Sound Studio', there are 30 minutes of ideas then nothing but repetition but no real development or resolution, just self-indulgence, like 'The Dead' (probably the best pure 'zombie'/ghoul feature for many years) lots of atmosphere but little solid intellectual meat.

Although it has a narrative curve and a kind of resolution, 'Les Revenants' lacks content. It is style over substance and as such a little Emperor's New Clothes. It's beautifully made, relatively original in its lack of melodrama, but otherwise draws on long established tropes from pioneering works in the revenant/ghoul/zombie genres and the folklores which spawned them. As a bit of craft, it;s excellent, but as a work of art, it's quietly disappointing, unless one fixates on the moral explanation I suggest above.

I have heard that the TV series offers more melodrama due to incidents not presented in the film, but as the series is at least 8 episodes coming in at around an hour each, I'm not surprised. What I'm intrigued to see in the series is if it has any more intellectual/ideas content during the story and at its denouement. Had the film been written and directed by the likes of David Cronenberg, then I think it could have been amazing - but then, he would have put in a lot more ideas and striking dialogue. In the defense of the makers of the film, they pioneered their concepts in this film and the audience for the TV show needs to remember that its's easier to expand and improve upon an existing idea than create a new situation from scratch, so I hope people coming to the film having already watched the series will keep the difference in media and the lack of room for character development and incident in a feature length in mind. There'd have been no TV show without this movie, guys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spoilt by viewing the series first, 11 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
A sombre view of all the problems that arise and the consequences that result when the world's dead "return" inexplicably. The tensions created and the attempts of the authorities to try and cope and hopefully understand the phenomena are well done. The conclusion, however, does not satisfy. I can see how the 2012 TV series adapted and created a far superior product from this film attempt. Worth a see but no help in trying to decipher the superior series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The TV show is better, 31 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Returned (DVD)
I loved this TV show but it started with this film. Its really rather the same as the tv show with its pace and excellant acting. Im not sure how its connected because it doesnt end as the show began

excellant
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5.0 out of 5 stars the returned, 1 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
good french thriller, but not as good as the tv series.the tv series had more happening as the story went on each week
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5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 13 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
The continuity guy on TV said - you need to watch this again - you've probably missed some things...so this is worth watching to see how the characters appear from the start. The acting is superb and the atmosphere compelling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The returned, 5 Oct 2013
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I like this film no problems with subtitles follow the action ok liked the story line very enjoyable will recomend.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a bit rubbish, 5 Aug 2013
By 
Paul Ockenden - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Returned [DVD] (DVD)
I enjoyed Season 1 of the TV series (apart from the 'Lost' style final episode), so I thought I'd give the movie which inspired it a go.

Frankly, it was terrible. None of the atmosphere that made the TV series so compelling. Although it is interesting to spot the actors who turned up (playing different roles) in the TV show.
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