It happens all the time: An up-and-coming actor shoots a shitty movie. Then he or she shoots a fantastic one. The distributors of the shitty movie see an opportunity, and release the shitty movie on the heels of the fantastic one, hoping that the now A-list actors’ blazing career will eclipse the shitty movie’s general shittiness. It happened to Jennifer Lawrence with Serena. It just happened this week to Chris Evans with Playing It Cool. And I think it’s happening to Rosamund Pike with Return To Sender. I’m so sorry, Rosamund.
Pre-Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne, a role that earned Pike an Oscar nod, critical and commercial success, and made me really scared of her, Pike’s career was full of hit-or-miss movies like Pride & Prejudice (hit), Doom (doom), An Education (hit), and Jack Reacher (eh, it’s fine). She’s since landed parts in several high-profile films, including The Deep Blue Good-by, opposite Christian Bale; Hany Abu-Assad’s The Mountain Between Us; and The Bends, a “diving adventure” (is the “adventure” death?) with Joel Kinnaman.
But before we see any of those movies, we have to see Return To Sender, which the Release Date Gods have decreed as Pike’s first follow-up to Gone Girl. Yep, we have to. I didn’t make the rules. Here’s Return’s original plot description, from THR in 2013: “The script centers on a meticulous small-town nurse (Pike) who falls victim to a life-altering event after she goes on a blind date with a man (Shiloh Fernandez) who turns out not to be who he says he is. She must find the strength and courage to rebuild her life and return to her former self.”
Sounds pretty harmless, right? Maybe even empowering, a chance to Pike to play a woman taking control of her destiny in a way that doesn’t involve slicing people’s throats with box-cutters? Well, the first trailer dropped today, and though THR’s plot summary is certainly accurate, it leaves out the fact that Pike’s character is raped by, then falls for (or something? the second half of this trailer is completely inscrutable) Fernandez’s character. Here we go:
The trail of the tape
Title: Return To Sender
Director: Fouad Mikati
Screenwriters: Patricia Beauchamp, Joe Gossett
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Rumer Willis, Nick Nolte, Shiloh Fernandez
Release date: May 22 in the U.K., no U.S. distributor yet
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “You expect me to cry, scream, say, ‘Dear God, why me?!’ …That's not me.”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
So many questions. Why is she mailing her rapist in prison? Why isn’t he reading her letters—does he have too much going on in prison? Why does she start flirting with her rapist in prison? Why isn’t Nick Nolte scary enough to dissuade Shiloh Fernandez from romancing his daughter? I’m scared of Nick Nolte just picturing him. Are Rosamund and Shiloh plotting to kill Nick Nolte with surgical tools? Why didn’t Lifetime make this movie first? Why is anybody trusting Rosamund Pike with mail-opening devices?