Directed by Fouad Mikati
Available on VOD, Amazon Instant, iTunes, and more August 14, 2015
I just watched a film where for the better part of the entire presentation itself, the only question that could be asked was, “What the hell is going on here?” The movie in question is Return To Sender from director Fouad Mikati, and after having this delivered to my table, I’d unequivocally like to return it to the sender, simply in hopes of a better explanation for this film’s inane thought processes.
From the film’s opening, we’re introduced to a character that’s about as likable as a case of flaming hemorrhoids: Rosamund Pike stars as Miranda, a colder than ice nurse whose general demeanor ranges from “freezer burn” to “tepid” at best. Her friends are oddly at ease with her acerbic disposition, and after a violent home invasion and rape by a man (Fernandez) whom she mistakenly allows in, thinking he’s the blind date she’s been waiting on, her attitude takes a rather bizarre turn, from straight-up icy to even-keeled, and even a little bit passive towards the situation. What happens next is truly one of the stranger game-plans I’ve witnessed in cinematic history.
Miranda begins a letter-writing deluge to her rapist, now that he’s been convicted and sits in jail, and while dozens of her letters go unanswered – returned to sender, that is – she decides to up the game and try visiting him behind bars. Now what was in those letters, we’ll never know – is it a ploy for revenge? Maybe a hope of regaining some sense of herself after such a heinous attack? While not out if the ordinary, it just didn’t seem to fit here. Added to which is the well-traveled Nick Nolte as Miranda’s father, who is still mourning the loss of his wife and now spends his days puttering around (stumbling, actually) with his dog – yet ANOTHER lost cause of a role from an actor who used to hit heavily when he tackled a character, and now it just seems as if he’s there to fill a roster spot when “miserable, grizzled old guy” becomes available. Even Fernandez looked lost as a guy who was supposed to be this detestable sexual predator, adding to the mystery that was this presentation as a whole.
A multitude of scenes looked to be chopped off before simple resolutions could be offered, and while we manage to grab some kind of a resolution towards the film’s conclusion, even after all was said and done, you’ll still be scratching your head wondering what the hell you just checked out. Mikati’s second directorial assignment was regrettably an example in futility, with one question heaping on top of the other, inevitably creating a landslide of missed opportunities, and I just couldn’t recommend this movie to anyone, not even if this was up against a Saturday Lifetime network film, where this will probably end up anyways – SKIP IT.