Showing posts with label 2004. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2004. Show all posts

22 July 2013

The Returned (They Came Back) DVD Review

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Rating:15
DVD Release Date:
22nd July 2013 (UK)
Director:
Robin Campillo
Cast:
Géraldine Pailhas, Jonathan Zaccaï, Frédéric Pierrot
Buy The Returned (2004):[DVD]

A disappointing watch for anyone who’s got too caught up in the word zombie, Robin Campillo’s 2004 film The Returned is a haunting original tale of undead awakening. Now a major series with the same title, The Returned has obviously addressed a void in the zombie market and caught people’s imaginations, Campillo’s eye for political commentary is as sharp as Romero’s but undoubtedly less entertaining to watch. Here you will find no flesh eating denizens of grave, no Savini, Berger/Nicotero effects:  this is a film startling in its total lack of similarity to any other feature of the genre.

You can see why it arguably works better in serial format; thousands of the recently deceased return to life and are registered, accounted for, then let back to their families, jobs, etc. Campillo’s focus here is less inclined towards the chaotic Armageddon factor and more towards the quiet sombre realisation of what is happening, his script picks its way through a realistic portrayal of the bureaucracy involved, the systems of testing, the reactions of loved ones, and ultimately the effects these have on a small French town. A series would be better equipped to explore the effects on individual people and to build a bigger sense of the event; Campillo’s feature unfortunately lacks focus and scale. We don’t follow a single character well enough to feel pulled into the moment, and there’s no attempt to show the global scale of the incident.

It takes a while for anyone to ask the questions that seem to jump to mind first, but even when the opportunity pops up, it comes from a child who is quickly brushed aside. It is in this manner Campillo deals with most of the important events of The Returned, quickly serving moments of intrigue then whisking them off with no further development, leaving the viewer to put the message together in their own good time. Perhaps the film and its creator are to be lauded for a fearless disregard of the anticipated reactions: the how’s, why’s, and what’s.

The dream-like quality of the film, the slow heartfelt, dizzy feel of the look and pace, evolve not just through the docile meanderings of the dead, but by that very elusive manner of story-telling you could easily get frustrated with. No matter how you feel it’s the perfect aesthetic for a zombie film sans gruesome flesh.

By no means is a zombie film in the traditional manner, The Returned a far more emotional rendering of that tired old trope, an intriguing look at the reality behind an event such as this. However, it is difficult to enjoy a film so laconic in its method, so dull and heart-wrenching that- at its core-  it is intrinsically boring.

★★☆☆☆

Scott Clark


10 June 2013

The Returned Original 'Returning' To UK For July DVD Release

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Were you one of the 1.5 million viewers who tuned into Channel 4's French subtitled supernatural drama The Returned last night? Did you know the French series is in fact based on a 2004 cult hit feature film called Les Revenants? Arrow Films have announced they will be releasing Robin Campillo's original feature film on UK DVD on Monday 22nd July 2013 which is also now re-titled The Returned.

The recently dead return to life and seem content merely to go back to their former lives, but their return causes a myriad of complications. Isham and Véronique have their trepidations,but they're generally happy, at first, to see their little boy Sylvain,and the town's elderly mayor welcomes home his wife, Martha . But Rachel, a government health official, cannot bring herself to visit her newly returned husband, Mathieu, at the ad-hoc shelter where the government houses the "zombies" like refugees. Eventually, she relents, and Mathieu returns home, but the living find that their loved ones are not exactly as they remember them. Studies soon reveal that the dead suffer from a form of aphasia.

They cannot create new memories, and they cannot be trusted to perform any but the most menial tasks. Perhaps sensing the discomfort they cause the living, the dead gather together at night, and seem to be formulating some kind of secret plan.

So if you where hooked on last night's new series, you can buy the film that started it all off The Returned (Les Revenants), which  is out on DVD Monday 22nd July 2013.

Pre-order/ Buy: The Returned (Les Revenants): The Returned On DVD