Return (15)

Starring: Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Liza Johnson's sombre homecoming drama is notable as much for what it leaves out as what it puts in.

Linda Cardellini plays Kelli, a reservist who's back from a tour of duty in the Middle East to realise life in her Ohio hometown isn't the same. Her plumber-husband (Michael Shannon) has been looking after their two young girls, and the boss at the warehouse has kept open a job for her, but Kelli just can't reconnect with her old self. The film doesn't blitz us with flashback traumas or horror stories of combat – all she admits is to having seen some "weird shit" – and gradually we must imagine for ourselves what's behind her deepening sense of dislocation. John Slattery (of Mad Men) is good as a frowsy ex-soldier she encounters at an AA meeting who seems to understand what she has gone through. Its low-key rigour and understated melancholy won't be to everyone's taste, but Cardellini's performance – reflective, distressed, simmering – is eloquent testimony of a soul irrevocably changed by the experience of war.

Comments