The Return
The Return (2003)

Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev makes his feature-film debut with the bleak psychological drama Vozvrashchenie (The Return). Younger brother Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov) and older brother Andrei (Vladimir Garin) live in a small town with… More

Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: December 30, 2003
DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
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Critic Score: 95% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A suspenseful but perplexing thriller.

Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

The story, set in contemporary Russia, seems unexceptional at the start. Yet it plays out against a vast wilderness of shorelines and lakes, and turns tantalizing ambiguity into urgent mystery.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

Beautifully structured and emotionally wrenching.

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Jon Fortgang

Mysterious, compelling, visually inventive, The Return is a quiet but intense metaphysical-drama of great emotional impact and insight.

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Andrew O'Hehir

The long and eventful fishing trip Dad drags the boys on is simultaneously a very real voyage through the Russian wilderness and also, like, a Jungian trip, man.

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Anthony Lane
New Yorker

Zvyagintsev gets formidable concentration from his youthful actors, and his storytelling moves with the simplicity -- calm, chiselled, and suggestive -- of a fable.

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Jeffrey Overstreet
Looking Closer

Like each episode of Kieslowski's Decalogue, The Return is a small but potent story. It leads us to ask: Is it ever enough to just 'trust and obey'?

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Scott Tobias
AV Club

Throughout his expertly controlled film, Zvyagintsev never allows a break in the clouds to provide some reassuring sign that the brothers are on solid footing.

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Deborah Young

Constructed like an eerie, metaphorical thriller, this tense, riveting character study offers viewers nearly two hours of emotions with a stunning pay-off no one will be expecting.

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Steven D. Greydanus
Decent Films Guide

A harrowing, elusively biblical account… echoes of Abraham and Isaac, the Gospel parables about fathers and pairs of sons, and the Second Coming.

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More reviews for The Return

Flixster Audience Score: 93% Flixster User Reviews
familiar stranger
This family trip moving in a thrilling manner is quiet captivating for what it is, but then somehow I'd got the notion that the genius was going to end it… More
Luke Baldock
Fantastically shot and all round perfect. A complex and tense relationship is developed between the father and the boys and it builds to a stunning climax. The… More
Dan Schultz
A dark, unsettling look at two boys who struggle to come to grips with their father's (Konstantin Lavronenko) sudden return to their family after a 12 year… More
Pierluigi Puccini
powerful freudian tale. great debut for director Andrei Zvyagintsev, who approaches the story with the same laid back misticism of his compatriot Tarkovski.
Bruce Bruce
The Return aka: ??????????? . This is a Russian Film sold by Kino International (Check there website). It fits in the category of World Cinema. It is in… More
Ross Collins
A very bleak coming of age tale that is "all about the art", though I just don't get the point of it all.