for what it's worth, i saw part of "The Return" and didn't like it at all... obviously the figures are symbolic/metaphorical, as is traditional for the artistic school Zvyagintsev comes from... but that wasn't enough to redeem it, in my view. do you reckon "The Banishment" is less annoying, David?
As I'm sure everyone here is aware of, I'm not big on symbolism, so naturally my question arises: what the fuck were those characters symbols for? Yes, The Return is most definitely an annoying film, but there was a relaxed atmosphere about it that I could ease into and ignore the things that irritated me for the duration of the film. I watched it without being really annoyed, but once the film was over I was all like shit, that blue filter was fucked up and that father guy was one terrible character and that kid was overacting and what not...
I think The Banishment is MUCH better. There is nothing wrong with any of the characters (although imo the last half hour shows some flaws in the narrative development of the film but that's hardly what's interesting about this film), the photography is beautiful and the imagery is just a constant reminder of Tark beauty: women sitting by the window, characters strolling around in the garden not saying much, frames placed around open doorways, etc etc.
I must confess I find it impossible to tell whether or not you'll like a film, George, but if you're at all interested to see how someone pays tribute to a filmmaker you love so deeply, you should at least give this a whirl. As I said before, it's only the pictorial aspect of this film that reminds one of Tarkovsky and nothing else. And that's what I like most about his films, so for me The Banishment was one helluva movie. Much more beautiful than The Return.