Kiefer and Donald Sutherland share the screen in this brooding western about an embittered gunslinger who attempts to make amends with his estranged father whilst their community is besieged by ruthless land-grabbers.
Bringing together two generations of a legendary acting dynasty, this riveting, bloody, and moving western stars Donald Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland as a long-estranged father and son attempting to make amends whilst their community is besieged by ruthless land-grabbers.
After years of wandering and making a name for himself as a formidable quick-draw gunfighter, Civil War veteran John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) quietly returns to his hometown. Weary of his years of violence, John Henry is determined to lay down his guns for good. John Henry's father, the Reverend William Clayton, resolutely condemns his son's past and is skeptical of his pledge to reform. "I don't know if a man can get away from who he is," says the reverend. As father and son bear witness to a murderous gang's appropriation of local properties — including that of John Henry's long-lost love, Mary Alice (Demi Moore) — John Henry is faced with an onerous existential dilemma. Is it better to turn the other cheek or to use his deadly talents to dispose of the villains — led by powerful landlord and saloon keeper McCurdy (Brian Cox) — who are corrupting the town?
Recalling such classics of the genre as Unforgiven, Forsaken poses complex moral questions as it escalates in suspense and mayhem. John Henry alternately displays tenderness and cold-blooded skill, while Reverend Clayton comes to realize that his stern moral code does not necessarily offer salvation. Forsaken offers thrilling action and gorgeous pastoral vistas (Alberta, standing in for 1872 Wyoming), but at its core it's a universal tale of arduous familial reconciliation — brought to life by a real-life father and son who just happen to be two of the screen's finest living talents.
Roy Thomson Hall
Visa Screening Room (Elgin)