The Unforgivable – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Nora Fingscheidt
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas, Linda Emond, Aisling Franciosi, Rob Morgan, Viola Davis
Available on Netflix December 10th
I never thought I’d be writing these words but this Sandra Bullock offering is based on the 2009 British miniseries Unforgiven written by Sally Wainwright. It all seems very random. Obviously, the story is transplanted to the US here and sees Bullock playing Ruth Slater, a woman who has spent the past half her life in jail for killing a cop. Upon release, she hopes to reconnect with her younger sister who was adopted following her incarceration. However, finding her proves harder than expected and with her victim’s family out for revenge her efforts to re-enter society are being hampered at every turn.
In case you hadn’t gathered this is pretty grim and dark, and I mean literally. Some of the shots here are so dark I had to squint to see them! Bullock has played a few of these characters before although her stock in trade tends to be fluffier roles. However, she is fantastic in these darker roles and I wish she had more opportunities to stretch her acting muscles. She is so good that she literally outshines everyone else on screen, although their performances are fine. This makes the movie somewhat unbalanced from the off.
She is not helped by the incredibly contrived story. As viewers, we always make allowance for dramatic licence in order to move a story forward but, on more than one occasion, I found myself gasping at the screen incredulously over something that simply pushed those boundaries too far.
Despite this I enjoyed it. It is gritty and depressing but very engaging. You do find yourself rooting for Bullock’s character despite her past transgressions although you know that she will never again have anything resembling a normal life.
If I had seen this in the cinema I might have been disappointed but as a Netflix offering that you can watch on your sofa, it is definitely worth a look. It isn’t going to win any awards but it’s a decent enough thriller.