The Flashbacks Return
Julie Walters is one of those actresses who deliver such consistently good work that even when you have never heard of a movie you still watch because it stars her. That is how I came to watch "The Return" a made for TV movie from 2003 because whilst I had never heard of it the fact Julie Walters is the star was enough to entice me to watch. And now having watched it I have to say that not only is Walters' performance good but so is the actual movie which has a sense of mystery about it which keeps you watching despite it feeling very much a low budget production.
Having served 10 years for the murder of her husband in a moment of drunken jealousy Lizzie Hunt (Julie Walters) is released under certain rules. She cannot visit or try and make contact with her teenage son, she cannot drink or go to a pub, she must keep up visits with AA meetings as well as her parole officer. But after 10 years inside life on the outside is tougher than Lizzie imagined and it leads her to hit the bottle again. But everything also leads to a series of flashbacks which make her question whether she was guilty of the murder and with the help of her friend Det. Sgt. Matt Dempsey (Neil Dudgeon) try to make sense of it all.
The thing about "The Return" is that whilst the draw is Julie Walters the storyline has such a sense of mystery about it that you feel a need to keep watching. I say that because "the Return" is certainly not some big budget movie, it is very ordinary in look and staging and at times incredibly laborious as you wonder where it is going if it is actually going anywhere. But as we watch Lizzie struggle with the outside world and then the series of flashbacks it gets you gripped because you want to know whether Lizzie was guilty or whether there is come kind of cover up going on.
As for Julie Walters well ignore the accent which occasionally goes walk abouts and it is another good performance. Walters delivers a character who is easy to feel compassion for because of the vulnerability of being in a world where people don't want her as she not only represents the death of a loved one but a reminder of something else. Unfortunately whilst Walters has a well written character to work with the rest of the cast which includes Neil Dudgeon and Glen Barry are not so well supplied. They do their best with them and director Dermot Boyd does a good job of bringing out the mystery in each of them but they could have been so much better. In fact you might wonder at times the need for so many characters as some seem to have nothing to do.
What this all boils down to is that "The Return" is very much a movie for fans of Julie Walters as it is her performance which is the most captivating. But it also has a good storyline and a nice level of intrigue which leads you to keep on watching.