Thursday, 5 April 2012
Following the recent influx of anti-war films with a more inwardly-looking perspective, Liza Johnson's debut feature Return (2011) stars Linda Cardellini as a female soldier unable to reintegrate into society after the horrors she witnessed in Afghanistan, alongside Michael Shannon and John Slattery.
On returning from a military tour of duty, Kelli (Cardellini) is excited to return to Ohio and once again embrace her husband (Shannon) and two young daughters. She's reluctant to discuss her experiences abroad but it's clear for all to see that she’s returned a different woman than the one who left - despite her instance that "nothing happened out there" and "a lot of other people had it worse than me" - a mantra she religiously recites each time she’s broached about the subject.
Bottling up her emotions soon begins to take its toll on her personal life, with her patient husband quickly becoming jaded with her detached mood and emotionally distant behaviour. This disenfranchisement with life back on American soil soon spreads, having a detrimental effect on both her job and friendships - eventually leaving her with nothing but the memories which haunt her.