The Returned (Les Revenants) (2012)

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Released 5-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 400:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Fabrice Gobert
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Anne Consigny
Frederic Pierrot
Clotilde Hesme
Celine Sallette
Samir Guesmi
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI ? Music Mogwai


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In a small alpine village in France a group of parents convene for what seems like a regular meeting. They are united in old grief. Their children died five years ago when their bus plummeted from a mountain cliff into the reservoir which dominates the town. For Claire the loss has also caused a separation from her husband Jerome.

     Imagine their surprise when their deceased twin daughter Camille simply walks into their house confused, but are very much alive. It is not an isolated phenomena. Throughout this small town the dead are suddenly emerging back into their lives. This is not without complication. After all these are people who have died, been buried and for whom the grieving process is at an end. How do you even begin to accept them back into normal life?

     For Adele, who has formed a new life and married a police sergeant after her fiancé Simon died there is a logical answer - she is still grieving and he is a phantasmagorical representation of her inability to let him go. For local publican Tony the passing was even more dramatic. He was forced to take matters into his own hands and kill his own brother, a vicious psychopath, to prevent him from killing again. For Julie, a doctor who almost died after her brush with the psychopath and is childless the appearance of young Victor (one seriously creepy kid) is treated with a deep sense of maternity. But why have the dead returned? Why is the dam at the centre of the community suddenly draining away exposing an uncomfortable history underneath? Can the living and the dead exist together or must they be eternally separated?

     These are some of the questions that are raised by The Returned, a French TV series in eight episodes, each roughly 50 minutes. The DVD case mentions a similarity to Twin Peaks. There is much to be said to this comparison. Both feature a town out of kilter. Certainly it is closer in spirit to that show than most of the "returned from the dead" shows. The closest series in terms of mood is probably Top of the Lake. Both shows managed to turn a beautiful location into a place of dread.

     The Returned (the original French title is Les Revenants) is based on an earlier film They Came Back although the series and the original film do not bear a great deal of comparison. Each episode is titled after a character with the exception of the last. This is a detailed character study and the acting is good throughout. There is a deep mystery at the core of the series though those people expecting a neat resolution with all questions answered should perhaps be aware that series two is in production. The truth is that the show is not about the solution to the mystery; it is how the living and the dead deal with each other.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Returned was shot on high-definition digital video. It comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer, consistent with the original widescreen television aspect ratio. It is 16×9 enhanced.

     Although the series is shot through with a pervading sense of gloom and doom it is a crisp and lifelike transfer. The level of detail is excellent. The flesh tones are accurate and the colours are precise without evidence of bleeding. The overall look is slightly denuded of colour.

    There are subtitles in English for the French dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The Returned features a Dolby Digital French 2.0 soundtrack running at 224 Kb/s.

     Moody drama like this would have benefited from a more expansive sound palette but nevertheless the effect and sound presentation is strong throughout. The dialogue is all clear and easy to hear.

     One of the attractions of this series is that the score comes from post-rock legends Mogwai. The Scottish band provides a highly memorable soundtrack capturing the off kilter mood. Fans of the band will find that the soundtrack has been released as a stand-alone album which fits perfectly into the oeuvre.

    The haunting main theme will definitely stay with you.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The series has appeared in identical format in Region 1. It also has a Region A Blu-ray release. Buy local.

Summary

     The Returned is a creepy supernatural series but it is not scary in a direct sense. It is the sense of chill and foreboding which makes this show special.

    The DVD is of good quality in sound and vision terms.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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