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Fouad Mikati
Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Camryn Manheim, Illeana Douglas, Nick Nolte
Patricia Beauchamp and Joe Gossett

A nurse living in small town goes on a blind date with a man who is not the person he says he is.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $29.97
Release Date: 12/1/2015

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Return to Sender [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 28, 2015)

Oh, the tangled web that the dating scene weaves! 2015’s Return to Sender gives those mating rituals the thriller treatment.

Miranda (Rosamund Pike) works as a nurse at a small town hospital. She agrees to a blind date with Kevin (Billy Slaughter), but a guy named William (Shiloh Fernandez) shows up instead. He pretends to be Kevin and sexually assaults her.

Even after William goes to jail, Miranda remains emotionally tormented. To ease her psychological pain, she reaches out to him, and this creates an improbable relationship. When William gets out on parole, though, matters once again complicate.

When Sender succeeds, it does so mainly due to Pike’s lead performance. Despite a dodgy American accent, Pike manages to bring depth to her part, and she conveys the character’s difficult emotional journey well. No matter what stretches the script throws at her, Pike handles them nicely.

Unfortunately, Sender tends to overplay its hand and pushes the bounds of credulity. For instance, does William really seem like kind of guy with whom Miranda’s friends who arrange a date? She’s prim and proper to the point of seeming OCD, and he’s more like the seedy drifter who stands outside 7—11 and badgers you to buy him a beer. And in this wired, always connected day and age, wouldn’t her friends show Miranda a picture of the guy first?

More aspects of the movie make little sense. The story goes out of its way to harass Miranda after her rape, and that all feels gratuitous. A more effective story would show Miranda’s edginess in response to banal activities, but instead, the film places her among such aggressiveness and rudeness that her responses seem logical. Pike still manages to convey the character’s anxiety, but the events hinder the effectiveness of these sequences.

Also, the path toward the climax pushes the bounds of logic. I understands why it does what it does, but it requires too much of a leap from the audience to accept it. By the climax, Miranda’s motives become clearer, but the film’s largely lost us by then.

Pike manages to keep our interest despite these flaws, but she’s not quite enough to turn Sender into a winning experience. It seems too erratic and flawed to become a satisfying film.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

Return to Sender appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a fairly positive presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed solid. A hint of softness occasionally materialized, but the movie usually showed pretty good clarity. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

Sender usually gave us an amber-tinted palette. Other hues appeared – like a bit of teal at times - but the golden feel dominated. Within those parameters, the hues were positive. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed reasonable smoothness and clarity. No real issues affected this appealing presentation.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Sender, it lacked a ton of ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up a bit on occasion. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack for this sort of movie.

The disc opens with ads for Devil’s Knot and Blood. No trailer for Sender or any other extras appear on the Blu-ray.

Although it sports some positives – mainly due to a fine lead performance from Rosamund Pike - Return to Sender becomes too erratic to succeed. It comes across like a cookie-cutter thriller too much of the time and lacks logic. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and acceptable audio but it includes no supplements. Sender has its moments but falls short of consistent quality.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.2857 Stars Number of Votes: 7
3 3:
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