Forsaken (Blu-ray) (2015)
|Category||Western||Featurette-Making of Forsaken (11:32)|
|Year Of Production||2015|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Jon Cassar|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Wyoming 1872. Ten years after he left to go to the war, John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) returns to his home town of Fowler where his father, the Reverend William Clayton (Donald Sutherland), still lives and preaches. Scarred by the war, John Henry continued to kill as a gunfighter after it finished but after tragically shooting an innocent boy dead he has discarded his guns and wants to put his past behind him. However, the reunion with his father is strained: Reverend Clayton cannot accept that his son had renounced God and was a gunfighter and killer. When John Henry left for the war he had also left behind the girl he loved, Mary-Alice (Demi Moore), who has since married and has a young son, although it is clear that there are still feelings between them.
But all is not well in Fowler. The railroad will be coming and James McCurdy (Brian Cox) is buying up the surrounding farms. Those who do not sell are threatened, intimidated or, if necessary, killed by McCurdy’s hired guns led by the erudite Gentleman Dave Turner (Michael Wincott), who would prefer to talk rather than shoot, although his associate, the more volatile Frank Tillman (Aaron Poole), prefers violence. John Henry is determined to stay out of the conflict and accepts humiliation at the hands of Tillman and his men. But an attack on his father means that John Henry can no longer renounce his past, and his guns, leading to a violent and bloody climax.
Forsaken is a classic western, a beautifully shot, straight forward story about redemption with a fabulous cast. It is directed by Jon Cassar, who is primarily a TV director where, for example, he worked with Kiefer Sutherland while directing 24 for 7 years. Cassar keeps Forsaken traditional. The opening credits occur over a lone horseman riding through the wilderness and there is nothing flashy about the cinematography of Rene Ohashi; this is a film of dolly shots, not jerky hand-held camera, and of beautiful landscapes (the film was shot in Alberta, Canada). This allows the drama and the cast to show out, and what a fabulous cast!
This is the first time that Kiefer and Donald Sutherland have acted together and the scenes they share are superb, obviously relishing the opportunity. You just want the father and son in the film to resolve their differences. Demi Moore is also good, but the strength of many films is the villains and here Forsaken delivers with three excellent, very different protagonists. Brian Cox, as he showed in films such as Troy (20004) or the Bourne films, is a commanding presence as is the case here. I was not familiar with Aaron Poole, but his unhinged Frank Tillman is excellent, and a perfect contrast to Michael Wincott’s Gentleman Dave who is a thinker and a man of integrity, a gunfighter with his own values who is almost a clone of John Henry. I have enjoyed watching Wincott since his villainous performance in The Crow (1994) and he does nothing here to lower my appreciation of his talent.
You know all along just where Forsaken is going but it doesn’t matter a bit. Forsaken is a simple tale, told simply with good characters and a fabulous cast, a classic western that delivers exactly what it promises.
Forsaken is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
Detail is solid throughout, the exterior colours rich and natural, showcasing the Alberta landscapes, but with that glossy digital sheen. Interiors are less natural; some are a bit murky with colours that are yellowish under lights while other scenes feature a strange green in the background. Blacks are generally fine, as are skin tones, while brightness and contrast are consistent.
I did not notice any artefacts or marks.
English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are available.
The only audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.
Some dialogue from Kiefer Sutherland was muffled due to his delivery but otherwise it was easy to understand. The surrounds and rears were used for ambience, such as the wind, music and horses’ hooves, but came to life effectively during the gunfights when shots and impacts occurred all around the sound stage. The sub-woofer appropriately supported the action and the music.
The music by Jonathan Goldsmith was a traditional orchestral score that suited the film.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
A short but reasonable making of using on-set and film footage plus comments by director Jon Cassar, cast members Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Brian Cox, Demi Moore and Michael Wincott, plus four of the producers. They mention how the film came about, casting father and son, the Sutherlands working together and the intentions of the filmmakers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This release is identical to the Region A US version of Forsaken.
Forsaken is a fine film, a throwback to the classic westerns. It is a story of fathers and sons and of redemption that is told simply and without ambiguity; there is no doubt about who the good guys and the bad guys are! There is nothing new, or revisionist, about the film but when you have a simple story well directed and such a fabulous cast it works a treat. I enjoyed Forsaken; fans of westerns or the stars will not be disappointed.
The video and audio are fine. The extra is okay and is the same as is available elsewhere.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|