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The Return [2003] [DVD] [2004]

4.3 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Vladimir Garin, Ivan Dobronravov, Konstantin Lavronenko, Natalia Vdovina
  • Directors: Andrey Zvyagintsev
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Jan. 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002TTT6U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,302 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev makes his feature debut with this haunting, poignant family drama. Teenage brothers Andrei (Vladimir Garin) and Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov) have lived with their mother (Natalya Vdovina) and grandmother (Galina Petrova) for as long as they can remember when their long-lost father (Konstantin Lavronenko) suddenly turns up after a twelve-year absence. While Andrei seems happy to see him, the younger Ivan is reluctant and suspicious of his father's motives. The three take a boat to a deserted island in a remote lake in the north of Russia - a trip which turns into an endurance test as the boys struggle to come to terms with their father's presence and cruel, mysterious ways. The film won the Golden Lion award at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Excellent film, keeps you guessing, but the finish a bit enigmatic.
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...from the heart of (first-time!) director Andrey Zvyagintsev to the soul of the viewer, that is. This film is nothing short of amazing. The story is moving, believable and deep on both psychological and emotional levels -- the cinematography, writing and pacing are right on target -- and the acting is as close to perfect as either a director OR audience can imagine.
Konstantin Lavronenko plays the long-lost father with just the right mix of strength, mystery and cool understatement -- his character would give many actors an excuse to overplay and draw attention away from the young men portraying the sons, the true centers of the film. The balance he achieves here is a tribute to the care with which he pursues his craft.
The two young actors who play brothers Andrey and Ivan (Vladimir Garin and Ivan Dobronravov, respectively) turn in some of the most believable, moving performances I've ever seen from people their age. The depths of emotion and commitment they give to their roles is extraordinary -- it's a level of quality that is a joy to see in actors of ANY age, but to see it in these who are so young is incredible.
The fact that this is director Zvyagintsev's first feature film tells me that this is indeed a filmmaker to watch -- and I don't think a film of this quality can be written off as 'beginner's luck'. His talent is formidable -- I look forward to seeing more from him.
The story unfolds at just the right pace -- the audience is given no clues as to what will happen next, and is kept is just as much suspense as the characters in the film. The honors this film received at the Venice Film Festival were justified -- I can recommend it without reservation to anyone, whether they favor 'art house' cinema or simply a well-made film telling a compelling story.
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This is an emotionally draining film aggravated by the real tragedy as one of the boys (Vladimr Garin) drowned in the lake on the outskirts of St. Petersburg just after the film was released. This film raises an issue of single parenthood and shows all the anguish and pain that children without a father have to go through. The film starts with a sudden reappearance of a father who next day takes both his sons on a camping trip which could have changed their lives for better but for the drastic accident.

Although many have indicated that this film is about the father-son relationship, I think it is also about the relationship between the two brothers who have grown up without any male influence. While being depressingly vulnerable and unconfident the boys prove to be independent beyond their age.

Great if very sad...
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Films can be sinister and tragic yet contain much that is positive and joyful, not this one. It is unneceserily morbid and depressing
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Format: DVD
This movie is absolutely astounding in terms of style, content, plot, and acting quality. When I watched it for the first time, I was unable to switch my mind away from it for days afterwards, as the film raises more questions than it answers. To me, this has always been a sign of an outstanding film. A good film will keep you highly entertained, but an outstanding film will have you thinking and asking questions well after the film has finished rolling. I absolutely loved it.

In brief, the story is about two adolescent boys who come home one day to find that the father who has been absent from their lives for 12 years has now returned and wants to take them on a trip for a few days. During the course of this trip, the father demonstrates a harsh, distant, and tough method of parenting, and makes the father/son bonding process a difficult and awkward one. He is forever trying to teach them to be tougher, more manly, and more independent. He rarely engages in any real conversation with them, instead preferring to bark orders at them or brood silently. This kind of parenting is completely confusing and difficult for the boys to respond to and understand. Andrey, the older of the two, is so eager to please his father and tries to do everything he is taught in an attempt to win his father's approval. Ivan, the younger of the two, is more suspicious and resentful of his father, and is generally unco-operative and unresponsive towards him. With the beautiful backdrop of a bleak Russian landscape, we observe these relationships developing over the course of about a week, and there are a few twists and turns in the plot which provoke many questions for us as viewers.

Some will inevitably criticise The Return for being 'confusing' and 'without any real conclusion'.
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Format: DVD
A very fine first film by Russian director Andrei Zvyagyntsev. A pair of boys (a teenager and his younger brother) live with their mother in a decrepit town in northwestern Russia. Suddenly, their absent father returns (a rude and authoritarian figure, who it is suggested, has been a military pilot) and brings them to a mysterious island for what is presumably a fishing trip. But, as it turns out, in the island a treasure is buried, perhaps from a burglary from which the father might be connected. The older brother adores his father, while the younger one loathes him. The father becomes growingly brutal, and as the movie suspense increases, everything points out to a final tragedy. Fine performances by everybody, but specially the boys (sadly, after the movie was shot, the actor playing the older brother die in the lake shown in the movie, in a scene eerily reminiscent of one portrayed in the film). The Christian symbolism is sometimes a bit heavy handed (with the father being a sort of devious Jesus figure), but otherwise this is a very fine movie.
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