Private Project

The Return

When Jack, a small time criminal, returns to London after three years in exile he immediately goes in search of his next job. On discovering that his old connections have gone cold he sets about making his own luck and decides to target rich business people in the city. This is where he meets Laura who introduces him to the ideal mark - a rich old gangster called Duke.

Using inside knowledge from his new partner Laura, Jack executes the heist - but something goes wrong and the job is a failure. But Jack is not one to miss an opportunity for serious money. So when a campaign of brutality and intimidation comes knocking on Jack’s door he decides to confront Duke and meet him head on.

The violence escalates as Laura is caught in the cross fire and Jack is dragged out to a quarry and left for dead. He must fight for his life against an enemy who is far more powerful and devious than he could ever have imagined, sending him on a collision course with a catastrophic secret.

  • Oliver Nias
  • Oliver Nias
  • Oliver Nias
  • Sam Donnelly
    Key Cast
  • Amie Burns Walker
    Key Cast
  • David Elliot
    Key Cast
  • Robert Goodman
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Psychological Thriller, Crime Thriller, Film Noir
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 32 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 17, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Raindance Film Festival - BEST UK FEATURE nomination
    September 27, 2015
    UK Premiere
  • British Independent Film Awards
    December 6, 2015
    Discovery Award Nomination
Director Biography - Oliver Nias

Oliver Nias was born in London where his debut feature film THE RETURN is set. While studying English Literature at University College London he set up a production company and began to shoot music videos for emerging artists. Since graduating he established Obstacle Films and has directed for bands Everything Everything, We Are The Ocean, Bang Bang Club, Charlie Simpson, Go:Audio and Me and the Mountain. He has made videos for Sony BMG and RCA as well as Full Time Hobby and Hassle Records. He has produced and directed campaigns for global companies such as Airbus, independent fashion labels such as Reve en Vert and shot content for brands such as Audi and Adidas. Oliver is currently working on a psychological thriller about a rivalry and a dangerous new technology.

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Director Statement

If someone wants to screw you over they can, it’s easy. It’s a frightening thought. That’s really where the whole concept of the film came from. I wanted to explore the sensation of being on the wrong side of a lie.

As is the case with every secret ever told, you can only appreciate its significance in retrospect so I wanted to create an experience that takes an audience up to the point when all previous events must be re-assessed. Because, at the time, you can never really get the whole picture.

It’s the reason you’re still reading this. Because you’re thinking, or hoping, that something will be revealed. It’s in our nature to want to find stuff out. And it’s an impulse that can get us in a lot of trouble. Especially for a criminal like Jack, the film’s protagonist.

The criminal world and the criminal mind is a frontier because the horizon of possibility is so wide. Everything is heightened. You can strike gold as easily as you can lose it all. And it’s lawless. There’s no better landscape to explore the nature of secrets and duplicity with such directness. The intriguing thing about the criminal world is that it’s our world as well. People tend to distance themselves from criminals and think that they’re part of something different. It’s not true.

Your neighbour could easily be a criminal and you wouldn’t know about it. You’ve probably met one without realising. And this was a tantalising thought when thinking about crime films. ‘The Return’ approaches the crime narrative using everyday environments in the city and aligns us with Jack as we are drawn into his psychological state – someone with a blind spot. It could happen to anyone.

So while the film has the regular characters and tropes you might expect from film noir and thrillers, we updated the single perspective narrative so that we only learn the true importance of events retrospectively. Which I think is quite a universal feeling. It’s certainly the way I see things.

We wanted to make a film that has an afterlife, that draws you back into thinking about it way after the credits roll, in the same way that discovering a secret forces you to see everything that preceded it in a new light. Because, at the time, you can never really get the whole picture.

Not until the final frame.