This Western film is quite a treat.
Two Sutherlands are hard to beat.
As dad and son, they seem so real.
Their estrangement we can’t help feel.
Kiefer plays a gun-slinging star
coming home to Dad from afar.
He wants to give up guns and such.
Does Dad believe him? No, not much.
The son arrives at a bad time
when villains are enjoying crime.
They bully folks and steal their land
as things get worse and out of hand.
Can the son remain calm and cool
or will he simply play the fool
and then go back to habits old?
See Forsaken. It’s Western gold.
I was fortunate to grow up during the heyday of Western films -- and I loved them! It pleased me to watch the cowboy hero fight bad guys and save the old homestead or town or stagecoach passengers. Movies with wide vistas, horses galloping across the plains, barroom fights, shoot-outs and frontier justice always entertained me. So it’s no wonder Forsaken gets my “thumbs up.”
But this time, the hero happens to be a depressed ex-gunslinger trying to make peace with his father, a minister disappointed with the violent path his son chose after the Civil War. These key roles are played to perfection by Kiefer Sutherland (24) and his real-life father, Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games). Because of its intriguing emphasis on this strained relationship, Forsaken ends up being a compelling drama as well as a wonderful addition to the Western genre.
Although the film moves along slowly at first, plenty of action and gunplay soon take place as ruthless land grabbers frighten the people who refuse to sell their property or leave town. When John Henry Clayton (Kiefer) realizes what is happening to his father and friends (including his long-ago girlfriend played engagingly by Demi Moore), he struggles with his conscience. After all, he is a famous fast-draw gunfighter with the skill to face down the villains. But that might result in the loss of respect he’s recently earned from his father.
Performances matter in Forsaken. The Sutherlands deliver the goods, of course. But other standouts are: Brian Cox (The Campaign) as a greedy businessman; Landon Liboiron (The Howling Reborn) as the smarmiest bad guy seen on screen for a long, long time; and Michael Wincott (Hitchcock) as a gentleman gunslinger who understands the rules of the game.
Director Jon Cassar (La Femme Nikita), working with Brad Mirman’s (Resurrection) involving screenplay, focuses on straightforward storytelling, and Rene Ohashi’s (Nikita) cinematography presents crisp images free of any pretentious distraction. All this helps viewers concentrate on the story and characters. What a great idea!
(Released by Momentum Pictures and rated “R” for violence and some language.)
For more information about Forsaken, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.