The Return (PG-13)

Drama 85 November 10, 2006
By Luke Y. Thompson
The Return gets this year's award for most misleading poster, with its empty-eyed, gray-skinned zombie/ghost that appears nowhere in the movie. You might, however, feel a little empty-eyed and zombie-like yourself after emerging from this languid story. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who wouldn't know a good movie script if it stabbed her in the heart, plays an agricultural product saleswoman who occasionally hallucinates about a mysterious, ponytailed man in blue jeans. As she travels to a small Texas town to figure it all out, she sometimes hears noises, sees her eyes change color in the mirror, and runs into deserted barns. Also, an angry co-worker surfaces occasionally to try to rape her for no apparent reason. A halfway decent editor could easily chop this down to 30 minutes without losing any plot points, but it would still be a tedious slog. Sam Shepard makes an appearance as Gellar's dad, and single-handedly shows up everyone else onscreen by actually displaying human characteristics. In fairness, the final plot revelation is so
ludicrous, you'll probably never guess it.
Asif Kapadia Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kate Beahan, Peter O'Brien, Adam Scott, Sam Shepard Adam Sussman Aaron Ryder, Jeffrey Silver Focus Features