Miranda Wells (Rosamund Pike) is a bright nurse, well on her way to becoming a surgeon. She has close relationship with her father (Nick Nolte), and the support of her friends. When one of her friends sets Miranda up on a date, she mistakes a mysterious stranger named William (Shiloh Fernandez) for him. Not too long after she lets him in, William brutally sexually assaults her leaving her shattered and the effects of the attack interfering with her work and relationships. Despite William being captured and arrested, Miranda feels this isn’t enough and decides to take matters into her own hands.
Return to Sender is an independent thriller that bares resemblances to other films of its stature, an example being Hard Candy. However, it certainly doesn’t set it above the aforementioned film, nor above Pike’s recent hit film Gone Girl. The film does a fine job of keeping you guessing as to what Miranda has up her sleeve, and even has you guessing where her mind is really at. This is portrayed perfectly by Rosamund Pike. She does a terrific job playing an unhinged character. Pike plays Miranda pre-attack with strong likability, but following the attack she demonstrates the damage in a way where we have no idea how it’s actually affected her mentally. We think it’s going to send her down one path or another, Pike even gives a sense that Miranda has no idea where she’s going. So it certainly a solid job of keeping the audience on their toes. However, it does lack any real thrills and suspense. It in no way gets under your skin despite keeping you hooked. There are also moments when you feel like it should be sped up. It all leads up to a very rushed ending, along with thoughts of how unrealistic certain events are that happen. It does dock it quite a few points for this, but it has enough to propel it from being really terrible. Adding to its positive aspects are the great performances by the cast. Pike, as I mentioned is incredible in the role. Shiloh Fernandez also provides a sense of mystery in the role of William to where you could easily fall for his charm in wanting to change, but yet you still can’t get over the fact that he’s a rapist, it keeps you guessing what his own motive is during the film. Finally there is Nick Nolte as Pike’s character’s father. Nolte also provides a strong performance here as the very caring father, whom while very attached for his dog, and being 70-years-old, he is willing to do anything to be there for his daughter and keep her safe. Nolte also has one of, if not the most, emotional moments in the film and he knocks it out of the park.
The story is familiar and has quite a bit of bad writing in terms of execution, but it does keep you wondering how it will all end and what becomes of the characters. But it is mostly back by excellent performances to really drive the film and make it worth seeing. It’s easily a hit or miss film that will divide viewers into several stances, but still worth checking out at least.
Return to Sender can be rented or purchased on iTunes or Video on Demand.