Revenge is a dish served lumpy and tasteless in the tonally muddled "Return to Sender," a strangely unaffecting waste of the flinty talents of "Gone Girl" star Rosamund Pike, once again in the role of retaliatory schemer.
She plays Miranda, an independent-minded, caring nurse with good friends, a loving dad (Nick Nolte) and a plan to advance her career and move into a new house. When she endures a vicious sexual assault, though, she willfully addresses the rip in her emotional fabric through engagement with her caught and convicted rapist (Shiloh Fernandez), scenes designed to give a therapeutic sheen but suggest a calculated undercurrent.
And yet director Fouad Mikati never settles on whether he's steering an identity crisis drama or an exploitative vengeance fantasy. That leaves Pike, coolly shepherded to spiky heights by "Gone Girl" director David Fincher, in the unenviable position of a genre construct instead of a psychologically intriguing character. She gets no help, either, from a superficial script's predictable approach both to depictions of rape trauma and the second act's mystery-woman thriller plotting.
"Return to Sender"
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.