Guns and grace notes.
Kiefer and Donald Sutherland saddle up to play father and son on screen in the unashamedly old-fashioned Western Forsaken.
With echoes aplenty of such genre classics as Shane and Unforgiven, the film finds Kiefer Sutherland’s reformed gunslinger John Henry Clayton returning home to a frosty welcome from his estranged preacher father in 1870s Wyoming. He has hung up his guns for good, he swears, but with Brian Cox’s ruthless robber baron and his callous hired guns forcing local farmers off their land, we can be pretty sure it will only be a matter of time before he straps them on again.
Veteran TV director Jon Cassar (a 24 stalwart) isn’t aiming for anything particularly original or revisionist here, and some viewers will take issue with his film’s measured pacing. Others will lament we don’t see more of Demi Moore as John Henry’s childhood sweetheart, who married another man during the ten years he was away. But the movie has enough grace notes to keep Western fans engaged. And it does deliver one or two surprises, not least in the way John Henry’s warily respectful relationship with a fellow gunslinger - Michael Wincott’s courtly Southerner, Gentleman Dave Turner – ultimately pans out.
Certificate 15. Runtime 90 mins. Director Jon Cassar
Forsaken debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Sunday 17 September. Available on DVD from Universal Pictures UK.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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