FORSAKEN (director: Jon Cassar; screenwriter: Brad Mirman; cinematographer: Rene Ohashi; editor: Susan Shipton; music: Jonathan Goldsmith; cast: Kiefer Sutherland (John Henry Clayton), Donald Sutherland (Rev. William Clayton), Demi Moore (Mary-Alice Watson), Brian Cox (James McCurdy), Michael Wincott (Dave Turner), Aaron Poole (Frank Tillman), Dylan Smith (Little Ned), Christopher Rosamond (Petterson), Greg Ellis (Tom Watson), Michael Therriault (Doc Miller); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Kevin DeWalt, Josh Miller, Bill Marks, Gary Howsam, Isabella Marchese Ragona; Momentum Films (Minds Eye Entertainment); 2015-Canada)
“It should please those who like their westerns the old-fashioned way.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
TV director Jon Cassar (“Assault on Devil’s Island“) adequately helms this old-fashioned western, except for the foul language by the villain. It features for the first-time onscreen the pairing of father-and-son, Donald Sutherland and his son Kiefer. Brad Mirman wrote the routine, plodding, script. It should please those who like their westerns the old-fashioned way.
The gunslinger John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) returns to his lawless small Wyoming hometown of Fowler in 1872 and reunites with his estranged widowed reverend father. After the Civil War, the discharged soldier John Henry earns a rep as a gunfighter, something his God-fearing dad disapproves of. The kid vows to hang up his guns, and helps dad run their farm by farming alone the barren land his late mom wanted her husband and son to farm together. John Henry discovers his old flame, Mary Alice (Demi Moore), married for the last eight years and with a son.
The town’s ruthless local businessman, James McCurdy (Brian Cox), is ambitious to become a land baron with the news that the railroad is coming to the region. McCurdy forces the local farmers off the land with his hired thugs. The smooth-talking leader of the gang is Gentleman Dave Turner (Michael Wincott), who convinces the farmers to leave or be killed. One of the thugs is the volatile Frank Tillman (Aaron Poole), who prefers to shoot first before talking. When the farmer Petterson (Christopher Rosamond) is killed by the thugs and the passive John Henry is abused by them, it predictably leads to the final shootout between the bad guys and the good guy.
Though filled with cliches and Western stereotypes, it’s well-produced, well-acted, fast moving and entertaining. But I must say, it would have benefited more by taking a few risks and not being so derivative and devoid of any nuances.
REVIEWED ON 3/4/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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