Return to Sender Blu-ray Review
Revenge films are all about the payoff. No matter how good the acting, story, cinematography, etc. is, it can all be thrown out the window if that quintessential reward fails to satisfy. RETURN TO SENDER comes fresh off the heels of GONE GIRL and features the true star of GONE GIRL, Rosamund Pike. So she has the acting chops to pull off a sadistic woman, but she’s stuck with RETURN TO SENDER’s lazily written script.
Miranda (Pike) is about to become a surgical nurse after years of toiling as a regular nurse. It’s an exciting step in her life, so much in fact that she’s ready to sell her current home and upgrade to something more modern and spacious. Being a single, well-to-do woman must have concerned her friends who have set her up on a blind date. The night of her date, she’s still in the process of getting ready when he arrives. She lets him in while she puts the finishing touches on herself. The only problem is that the person she lets in isn’t her blind date.
The man, who we later learn is named William (Fernandez), proceeds to violently rape Miranda. The rape is quick and unnerving. William flees and Miranda is left to pick up the pieces. Sure the police nab William right away, but everything going for Miranda is flipped on its head. That job she was ready to snatch is no longer attainable. The incident has left her surgery hand quivering in fear every time she uses it, even for the simplest of tasks. Miranda’s realtor then tells her no one wants to buy a home where a rape just took place. Her life has been shattered in one quick violent incident.
Miranda is definitely worth rooting for, as most cinematic rape victims would be. She takes care of her ailing father (Nolte) who in turn attempts to comfort her and tries to help her get on her feet. So there’s nothing wrong with Miranda’s characterizations. William is a much more difficult character to pinpoint. He’s obviously a terrible human being, but he genuinely seems sympathetic about what happened, which takes a lot of air out of the evil act he’s done. His reasoning, or lack thereof, also deflates the crime.
The real puzzler for RETURN TO SENDER though is the U-turn Miranda makes. We’re able to grasp the idea that Miranda is going to conquer her new demons and get her life back on track, by exacting revenge against William, but we’re not able to go along with her method: seduction. Seducing the man who raped you is odd, especially when William had no qualms about beating her during the act and exhibits signs of sadism. RETURN TO SENDER mistakes trying something implausible for Miranda for originality.
With an Oscar nominated actress at their disposal, the creators of RETURN TO SENDER misuse Pike. The buildup is long and drawn out to the assured ending. Her plan, as basic as it is, should not take this long. As for the final moments when she’s ready to exact her revenge, it’s tame. An hour and a half of invested time should have much more callous response from the woman who believes she’s righting a wrong. RETURN TO SENDER is not just a title, it’s a recommendation.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) Visually, it’s a very plain movie, but everything comes in clearly on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Most of the soundtrack goes unnoticed on this blu-ray which could be attributed to the lack of professional sound mixing, but overall there’s no problem.