Review of "Forsaken (DVD)"

published 26/09/2017 | sellerleygirl
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Pro A good old fashioned film
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"The Young Gun is back - and this time he's brought Daddy!"

Forsaken (DVD)

Forsaken (DVD)

-•- Forsaken-•-

-• Film Only Review -•-

This is a ‘film only’ review as I watched this film on Sky Cinema. I am not usually a fan of Westerns, I had my fill of them as a child on a Sunday afternoon when it seemed to be the only film choice on then. However, I do like Kiefer Sullivan and I was intrigued by the fact that he was playing alongside his father, so I settled down to watch the hour and a half film.

-•- Genre-•-

• Drama
• Western
-• Film-•-

'Forsaken' is a 2015 Western drama film ' from a screenplay by Brad Mirman. The film stars real life father and son, Kiefer and Donald Sutherland, playing father on son on screen. Kiefer Sutherland wanted to find a film that he could do with his father, so he enlisted writer Brad Mirman to write a western story about a father and son, to be played on screen by a father and son. This is the second time the Sutherlands play father and son, the first being in the 1983 film, 'Max Dugan Returns' - but they didn't share a scene in that film.
'Forsaken' had its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 16th, 2015, before general release in 2016.

Film Details

Directed by Jon Cassar
Produced by Isabella Marchese Ragona, Bill Marks, Gary Howsam, Kevin DeWalt and Josh Miller
Written by Brad Mirman
Music by Jonathan Goldsmith
Cinematography Rene Ohashi
Release date September 14, 2015 (Toronto Film Festival))
February 19, 2016 (United States)
Running time 90 minutes
Classification 15
-• The Trailer •-

-• -The Story -•-

“I fear you and I are headed for an inevitable conclusion,”

The film takes place in 1872, and starts with a dark screen and the unmistakable scream of a woman who has lost her son, we then see a blood-stained woman and a man holding the dead body of a child. The relevance of this scene becomes apparent later on in the story.

We are then taken to a very familiar Western scene as Kiefer Sutherland playing John Henry Clayton, is riding through the typical Western landscape on his way back to his home town. It is ten years since he left the town to fight in the Civil War, and he’s returning with a formidable (if a somewhat unclearly defined) reputation as a gunslinger, but he is determined to hang up his guns.
His father is the local pastor, the Rev. William Clayton, played by Mr. Sutherland’s real-life father, Donald Sutherland; and is not that keen to welcome back the prodigal son, and is sceptical that John Henry has had enough of death to last him a lifetime.
However, Clayton really does behave like a changed man; he spends his time and energy by honouring his late mother's wish to clean up a field for planting, and is happy to see Mary Alice (played by Demi Moore), the love he left behind, but he resigns himself to the fact that she married another man, and had a son, during his long absence.

Unfortunately, back in town James McCurdy ,a ruthless businessman (played by Brian Cox) is trying to buy up all the nearby land, including the farms to build a railroad, and he has resorted to intimidation to do it, hiring the eloquent, but deadly Gentleman Dave Turner (played by Michael Wincott) and a band of nasty killers (including the hot-headed Frank Tillman (played by Aaron Poole) to ‘persuade’ reluctant farmers to sell.
At first Clayton shows such remarkable self-control that even his father is impressed, he even turns the other cheek when baited, and badly beaten, by Frank and his thuggish cronies. But when the ‘baddies’ finally go too far —well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!!

-• -The Main Cast -•-

Kiefer Sutherland as John Henry Clayton
Donald Sutherland as Reverend Samuel Clayton
Brian Cox as James McCurdy
Michael Wincott as Gentleman Dave Turner
Aaron Poole as Frank Tillman
Demi Moore as Mary Alice Watson
Greg Ellis as Tom Watson
Siobhan Williams as Emily Chadwick
Dylan Smith as Little Ned
Chris Ippolito as Bob Waters
Landon Liboiron as Will Pickard
Wesley Morgan as Sam Hatch
Christopher Rosamond as Daniel Peterson
Michael Therriault as Doc Miller
-• - Acting -• -

I first became aware of Kiefer Sutherland in the 80’s; with three teenage daughters obsessed with ‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘Young Guns’ (I even had a decorative brass gun – well it WAS the 80’s – thrown through a glass display window - as the girls re-enacted a scene from ‘Young Guns’ with the immortal words “Yoo Hoo, I'll make ya famous”) Kiefer Sutherland may be 30 years older now, and his face carries a lot more character; but Mr Sutherland Junior still looks as easy riding his horse as he did in ’Young Guns’ and gives a subtle, powerful performance . With actually very little dialogue, he effortlessly carries all his scenes; just like his Jack Bauer character in ‘24’ he manages to display deeply repressed pain and remorse while playing the impassive manly archetype.
Sutherland Senior, with his flowing white hair and beard and looking like he’s just stepped out of the Old Testament, is perfect as the pious father and pastor.
Together the father and son have a natural confrontational but caring chemistry; and in a third-act scene of resolution, they play the roles so affectingly poignant that it is hard tell if you are rooting for the characters or for the men playing them.

I was actually surprised at how good Demi Moore, as John Henry’s old love interest, was in this film, as I am not always a huge fan of her work. However, now in her early 50’s, she has a tough gangly appeal and strength of character and produces a modest, convincing performance.
Another standout actor in the film is Michael Wincott, who makes a fantastic job as the very eloquent gunslinger, his sad-eyed, gravel-voiced and articulate performance brings just a touch of humour and pathos to the film, while all the time insinuating danger.

Scottish actor Brian Cox does a good job of the accent as the ruthless property developer James McCurdy, he is as dependable as ever in the role of a slimy landowner.
All the cast members play off each other really well as the tension mounts over the hour and a half. McCurdy grows creepier in his conspiracies, Frank Tillman (wonderfully played by Aaron Poole) gets more out-of-control with his viciousness, ‘Gentleman’ Dave Turner gets more fed up with having to work with unprofessional men and John Henry just keeps stoically taking the taunts and physical punishment. Will his violent nature be seen again?

-• -My Opinion -•-

Do you know what? I loved it!!

The critics were all for slaying it as old fashioned, old hat, been done before etc; they were like critics watching ‘Romeo and Juliet’ complaining that the young couple died in the last performance they saw!!

This was just a good old fashioned Western; it took me back to the late 50’s, sat on a Sunday afternoon with Mum knitting and Dad kneeling on the rug in front of the fire, periodically relighting his pipe with spills from the fire as we watched things like ‘Raw Hide’ or John Wane being John Wayne.

Yes, it was predictable, yes, I did foresee the ending (although one of my predictions didn’t come true – which I can’t divulge for spoiler reasons) but it was darned good fun watching it all pan out.
This is basically a good old-fashioned cowboy film; it has goodies, it has baddies, it has a ruthless landowner, it has a romantic back story, it has shoot outs, horse ridings, saloons – I was actually humming ‘Do not forsake me, oh my darling’ in my head at one time!! The only difference in this Western to the ones I watched back in my childhood was that it was in colour and there were a few obscenities knocking around (mainly from Brian Cox’s character) as I said to my hubbie while watching it “You didn’t hear John Wayne say, ‘Get off you f***ing horse and drink your f***ing milk’ did you?”
Overall, although you can, for the most part, but not entirely I may add, predict how this is going to end but is well worth watching. It is very well presented and acted and I would recommend it to those viewers who like Westerns as well as those, like me, who are not usually that keen!

Michael Wincott (who plays Gentleman Dave) even provides an epilogue in which we find out what happened to some of the characters after the film is ended. I know that we tend to get used to Westerns where somebody settles down on the homestead or rides off into the sunset, it is unusual to learn of the character’s fates after their horse has disappeared over the horizon.
-• Ratings-•-

• IMDb 6.4/10 from 7,2633reviews
• Metacritic 55% from 73 critics
• Rotten Tomatoes:43% from 44 reviews

-•- Critics -•-

• Entertainment Weekly: "Father and son team up for a Western in the classic style."

• Media Mikes: "If you're a fan of the genre' you won't be disappointed by FORSAKEN."

• Starburst: "Forsaken is still a film to be enjoyed. The performances themselves justify that."

• New York Post: "Forsaken greatly benefits from the poignant teaming of its father-and-son stars -- as well as Michael Wincott as an especially elegant and eloquent gunfighter who has great respect for John."

• The Guardian: "Toronto sees the Sutherland father-son team appear on screen together for the first time, in a pure western that rejects revisionism in favour of unadulterated fun"

• Los Angeles Times: "Kiefer and Donald Sutherland shine in 'Forsaken,' a remedial western"

• Charlotte Observer: "‘Forsaken’ proves old Westerns can have new life in them"
-• - How to View - •-

As of 26/09/17, ‘Forsaken ‘can be purchased from Amazon from £5.16 new and £1.14 used.
It is also available to buy on amazon Video for £6.99 or rent on Amazon Video for £2.49
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK and are if you have a Prime account, if neither of these apply add £1.26 for postage
Amazon are currently offering £1.00 credit to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray offered by A maximum of 1 credit per customer applies.
Offer ends at 23:59 GMT on Wednesday, December 20, 2017
It is also available free to subscribers on Sky Cinema.

-• - DVD - •-

As I watched this on Sky Cinema I don’t have any details of the DVD; however, the DVD details off Amazon are:

Format: PAL
Language: English
Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
Region: Region 2
Number of discs: 1
Classification: 15
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
DVD Release Date: 11 July 2016
Run Time: 90 minutes

And according to DVD Talk, the only extra is an 11 ½ minute ‘Making-Of Featurette’ with cast and crew interviews.

-•- In Conclusion - •-

Do I recommend it? I really do!!

The film is a decent length, at just under 90-minute long. While it is obviously derived from a lot of Western films that have come before it, it is well paced and well worth watching. Die-hard, old-school Western fans may complain of a lack of originality, however, if you’re looking for an entertaining, well-executed, well-acted, straight Western film, give it a shot. (No pun intended!)

5/5 for me for this one, I can find no fault in it – it is what it is!!
-•- Pictures - •-

Pictures are of my download from Sky and some of the film from Google Images.

1. My download off Sky Cinema
2. Cinema poster
3. The father and son scene of resolution
4. Old lovers, John Henry and Mary Alice, Kiefer Sutherland and Demi Moore
5. Brian Cox as the dastardly James McCurdy
6. Father and Son Donald and Kiefer Sutherland
7. Michael Wincott as the dapper Gentleman Dave Turner
8. Aaron Poole as the gun happy Frank Tillman
9. “Yoo Hoo, I'll make ya famous”!!!

Thanks for reading I do hope that this review has been of some help!

© Sellerleygirl September 2017

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  • euphie published 15/10/2017
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Product Information : Forsaken (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s): Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Demi Moore, Brian Cox

Director(s): Jon Cassar

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 15 years and over

Production Year: 2015

EAN: 5053083083021

Video Category: Feature Film


Listed on Ciao since: 25/09/2017