Asif Kapadia’s supernatural drama likes to model itself after “The Machinist,” in which our main character has a reality that may not be everything she assumes it is, and is constantly haunted by mysterious figures while always in a dream-like environment where music fades, and space and time are easily bent to every scenario this mystery wants our character Jo to be. “The Return” isn’t the worst movie of 2006 as most others have reported, but is instead a weak and rather dull little drama that really breaks no new ground. Gellar’s performance here ranges from flat out mediocre to as wooden as a stake. Gellar is far from the primary flaw of this picture, as Kapadia can never seem to keep the audience at attention.
The film’s peaks go from occasionally fascinating to just plain tedious, with Gellar adding nothing to the mix. Her character is boring, Gellar lacks the charisma to save this heroine, and everything feels rather been there, done that. Sam Shepherd is also a character who adds nothing except a rather bland plot device to the ultimate mystery, and looks bored whenever he’s on-screen. And I am certain that the cheesy jump scares are in here to keep audiences awake. “The Return” has a lot of potential, and even with the great twist ending revealing the actual hook to the mystery of Joanna’s meetings with shadowy figures, there’s really nothing you will take away from it all. It’s not a land mark film in the end, and it’s hardly a horrible movie, it’s just a forgettable drama. I would have loved to be surprised with this, but “The Return” is just a bland affair with a few clever twists here and there.
If you can slog your way through it all, I did enjoy what the climax had to offer people who invested their time. Kapadia composes a rather touching and gripping finisher to a movie about reincarnation. If you had the chance, would you correct a tragedy that occurred years before? Kapadia’s editing, compared to the sad final scene make the climax a mere glimpse of the potential this movie held for audiences. Beyond that, the imagery Kapadia creates is rather entertaining and adds an unexpected sense of tension to the proceedings. I think this is an entertaining visual supernatural film. It’s not the worst movie ever made, it’s not even the worst movie of 2006; that honor goes to “Black Xmas.” It’s just a dull, mediocre, and forgettable supernatural drama with wooden performances from its entire cast. A major overhaul would have turned this into an exceptional film.