After I got home from the baseball game, I watched a little bit of The Dick Cavett Show and The Judy Garland Show, and then I watched the DVD of “The Return,” the Russian film about two brothers going on a fishing trip with their mysterious family who has been absent for 12 years.  The two kids were strong actors, and a felt some sympathy for the brooding little guy.  When the father comes back, he’s tough on them.  I thought he was something of a mixture of Liam Neeson and Robert Duvall from “The Great Santini.”  Well, when you’re gone for so long, you can’t expect to have authority over the kids.  Ivan was irritating at first with his refusal to eat, and then playing around with a piece of bread.  I kept wondered what the mother must have been going through if her children were gone much longer than planned.  The kids don’t know how to do things like getting a car unstuck from the mud, or pitching a tent.  This was the most miserable road trip of all time and was a reminder to me that I would not want to go out camping, especially with a stranger.  I tried to determine the time period of the story.  The father uses phone booths, and the boys look at an old photograph to see their father’s face.  I saw that Roger Ebert didn’t give this movie a good review.  He thought that the story made no sense, and the father didn’t have a real reason to take his sons along on this trip.  This story does beg the question of why the father didn’t meet the boys after he had completed his mysterious task.  Why risk discovery?  The director was Andrey Zvyagintsev.  He did create much tense situations and captured some of the feeling of the boys needing a father.  This wouldn’t make my list of Top 100 films of the millennium, although I thought it had some interesting qualities.

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