Best movie of this year hands down!
That was an excellent one.
Although it has its amusing moments, in eneral the plot does not convince.
The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.
A retired gunslinger John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) returns back to his home town after being away for 10 years (part of his time was spent in the war and part of it was spent drifting around). He returns to make amends with his father but also learns that his mother has died recently. John is determined to turn his back on his old ways, but when he learns that the townsfolk are being bullied and killed by a ruthless gang of land-grabbers it seems that John may have to come out of retirement to save the town.The big draw about this film is seeing the Sutherlands appearing on screen together and to be fair to both men they both give committed and excellent performances, but aside from that, a couple of other good performances and a reasonably tense and well-executed finale I'm struggling to find much else to praise about this film to be honest...Slow-burn seems to be the approach that Cassar has adopted here and in the early stages this is OK, but there is a fine line between something being slow-burning and boring and unfortunately, for the most part, Forsaken falls into the latter camp. The fraught relationship between father and son was interesting at first, but the threads connecting the story lines don't seem to add up to a great deal (despite the emotional weight that they seem to carry). The villains of the piece here aren't particularly intimidating and many of them seem more like ridiculous caricatures (with the exception of Wincott whose understated performance is actually pretty good). All these things combined create a vacuum in the middle of the picture which essentially sucks the life out of the film - I could have also done without the sub-plot involving Demi Moore's character as John's old flame which felt unnecessary and again dragged the picture down somewhat.Narratively, the film is also slightly problematic in the way that a lot of the land-grabbers don't seem to fear John in spite of his reputation. It also doesn't make sense that when they do get the better of him that they allow him to live??? Why would you allow the one man capable of stopping you to live?? Of course, it's to set up the inevitable showdown and to allow John to save the day, but you would think that if the land-grabbers had any brains that they would have eliminated the threat at an early stage - him being retired could have been a bluff for all they know.There is a fairly well-executed final shootout which almost makes up for the dreary and lifeless hour and a bit that preceded it, but on the whole I found Forsaken to be drawn-out, mawkish, overly-sentimental and worst of all unexciting. All in all it has some selling points and isn't all bad, but there was an awful lot of it that I found dull and uninteresting and it made for a very long 90 minutes.
I really enjoyed this. As others have said, it's a classic western in the tradition of Ford, black hats and white hats. I enjoyed watching Kiefer Sutherland change from an embittered guilt-ridden ex-gunfighter to a stand-up guy driven to protect his father and the townsfolk. The relationship between father and son was very well done, the scenery beautiful, and the music the kind that goes with great westerns. Worth watching more than once.
Released in 2015 and directed by Jon Cassar, "Forsaken" is a Western starring Kiefer Sutherland as a repentant prodigal son who returns to his hometown in the Northwest after going off to fight the Civil War and afterward morphing into a notorious gunfighter. His mother's now passed away and his father, the town preacher (Donald Sutherland), has a hard time embracing him. Demi Moore plays his youthful flame, now married (the husband played by Jonny Rees). Brian Cox is on hand as the land-grabbing villain with his hired guns (Aaron Poole and Dylan Smith). Michael Wincott stands out as the southern Gentleman Dave, an honorable gunfighter.This is a nigh excellent realistic Western even though parts are too by-the-numbers and it clearly borrows from past Westerns, like the towering "Shane" and "Unforgiven." But it's different enough to stand on its own and holds some agreeable surprises up its sleeve.I like the subplot about the Civil War causing John Henry (Kiefer) to become disillusioned, falling into the gunfighting lifestyle. Kiefer is unexpectedly good as the protagonist, easily carrying the movie with the help of his father; the church sequence is particularly effective. I also appreciate the message with the romantic subplot, which is the antithesis of the eye-rolling events in "Pale Rider," a film that borrowed even heavier from "Shane" and could be called a total rip-off (or homage). I thought I had the ending figured out, but I was wrong, which is good.The movie runs 90 minutes and was shot in CL Ranch, Springbank, Alberta, Canada.GRADE: Borderline A-/B+ ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY *** SPOILER ALERT ***Someone criticized "Forsaken" on the grounds that it was a "low-budget Pale Rider," But there are significant differences between the two movies: John Henry (Kiefer) in "Forsaken" is a human being rather than a mysterious supernatural figure like the Preacher (Eastwood) in "Pale Rider." John Henry served during the Civil War, clearly suffering PTSS and swearing off killing whereas the Preacher appears as a sort of angel of vengeance with zero qualms about killing those who deserve it.John Henry humbles himself, allowing himself to get his axx kicked, whereas the Preacher is superhuman, always kicking axx from the get-go.As a human being, John Henry repents in tears in the church facility, hugged by his father, whereas the Preacher needs to do no such thing.John Henry loved the woman (Mary Alice) enough to not mess with her in any way and thus risk destroying her family whereas the Preacher has sex with the woman even though her kindly husband, Hull, is his friend and he's supposed to be an agent of righteousness (!), which is a gaping plot hole.John Henry doesn't want to take on Gentleman Dave, if he doesn't have to, likely because they're birds of a feather and he recognizes Dave's code of honor, unlike the other scumbag thugs hired by McMurdy. He also mercifully allows the young hirelings the chance to leave the gunfight. By contrast, the Preacher basically kills everyone linked to the villain without mercy."Forsaken" is real-life dramatic Western whereas "Pale Rider" is a mythical Western with supernatural elements.
This movie had some wonderful shots of a small town but lacked reality in a few areas. The movie is set in 1872 and John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) is an adult but I had to laugh watching him use an ax and hook a chain on some fallen trees. Looked the first he ever swung an ax. I would think actors would be give some basic training with they don't know these basic skills. At least they would look like they know what they were doing. When a gun is fired, it recoils or jumps back and up. In this movie they pretty much stay still. And guns are LOUD. But here, even when shot in a building no one ever flinches or even reacts to the noise. And did I hear correctly? Did the store clerk say the revolver held nine shots of 10 gauge? That would make the cylinder a big as a grapefruit and kick like a mule. Why would anyone wear gloves when they are handling a revolver, particularly if they need to draw the gun from their holster? Millions of dollars spent on making a movie the director misses this stuff.