The cast for the film "Return" by first-time feature director Liza Johnson has been announced thanks to Variety. Leading the film are Linda Cardellini ("Freaks & Geeks"), Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road") and Tim Blake Nelson ("O Brother Where Art Thou?"). The film is about a woman (Cardellini) returning from a tour of duty and finding it hard to readjust. Shannon will play her husband and Nelson will play a war veteran that she develops a bond with.
So the film is much like the last few minutes of "The Hurt Locker"? While that film was good, this writer found that small little sequence to be one of the most subtle and affecting parts of the film. There's plenty of ground to cover for a film, and if done right it could be an interesting take on the modern war film, which has been getting relatively stale lately (see: "Route Irish" and "Fair Game"). Another promising detail is that the lead will be an affected female soldier, rather than the typical male lead. We're always hankering for strong female-led films that aren't completely silly, so we'll be looking forward to subsequent developments. The role sounds more like something Michael Shannon would typically play, so the fact that Cardellini is playing it instead makes it even more notable. She could certainly use a good film to add to her resume, which, post "Freaks," lists either obscure movies or complete fodder like "Scooby Doo."
In an interview with IndieWire, Johnson hints at some influences and goals for the film, and makes it a million times more promising. "I see [“Return”] in the tradition of films like ‘Safe’ and ‘A Woman Under the Influence,’ about strong female protagonists who don’t quite fit in with their world." As for the perspective, she says "“Expectations and pressures are different for women - dealing with rage is harder for them and not as acceptable as it is for men.” Her background in experimental short films and video installations will most likely be apparent in this film, which is sounding more and more like the breath of fresh air modern-day war films desperately need.
Hopefully everything comes together and this film becomes exactly what Johnson is promising. Shooting will take place in Ontario at the end of September.