For the genre fans. So this is about a war veteran by the name of John Henry (Kiefer Sutherland) who returns home after some time to attempt to mend the distant relationship he has with his father (Donald Sutherland). He tries to fit in with this town, and wants to put his old ways behind him, but as they say: he may be done with killing, but killing may not be done with him. It’s no secret; if you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you already know that the Western is one my absolute favorite genres out there, and they are some of my most cherished films that I hold dear to me. It is something that I enjoy immersing myself in, so when something that isn’t overly special like Forsaken comes along, I still enjoy myself because it features all of the tropes that I love.
The Sutherlands, together again for the first time.
The thing that Forsaken inarguably borrows most liberally from is Unforgiven. It is so Unforgiven it isn’t even funny: a man trying to put his violent past behind him, but it refuses to let him retire peacefully. Because of all of the similarities, I thought that Kiefer was going to be playing that mysterious Eastwood character, but he’s not, really. He’s much more in tune with his emotions and breaks down a few times throughout. I thought it was interesting to see him interact with his real life father onscreen, because you don’t get to see a father-son combo together in movies all that often, usually only with siblings, if anything. It added an interesting dynamic that I was able to get behind. Stealing the show I have to say is Michael Wincott as a well-spoken gunslinger with principles, not all unlike Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.
There’s just something about a gunfighter who can defeat you with words before resorting to pistols.
Forsaken is good, but I only feel like it is worthwhile if you are already a fan of the genre. This is due to the fact that it borrows from so many other previous works, because it is Unforgiven, it is Tombstone, and it is even the 3:10 to Yuma remake, as there is a character similar to the one that Ben Foster played (the actor here is Aaron Poole). Brian Cox even shows up, but he’s totally just playing the role that Ian McShane did in Deadwood. It’s not a classic, it’s been done before, but it is short, and all of the accessories that accompany a solid Western are there. There’s enough here for me to give a low recommendation, provided you already liked Westerns beforehand; if you never cared for the genre, this won’t be the one to turn you around.
Forsaken (2015) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire