The Forger is a low key crime drama with John Travolta as an art forger forced to do the infamous ‘one last job’ so that he can spend time with his terminally ill son. It’s a very well acted film that (ironically) may not be wholly original but it works as an engaging piece of entertainment. The film once again illustrates that Travolta is at his best when he’s playing the downtrodden everyman.
Philip Martin’s film is tacked with an impressive cast, with Christopher Plummer, Anson Mount, Tye Sheriden, Jennifer Ehle and Abigail Spencer supporting Travolta. The multi-generational crime sees three generations of a family drawn into the criminal world and the drama has shades of Sidney Lumet’s 1989 film Family Business (with Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery and Matthew Broderick).
The Forger once again shows that John Travolta is a hugely under-rated acting talent. He’s often best known for playing over the top villains but he can always turn in a tremendous low key performance. There’s something about the way he carries himself in his role here which implies that he’s enjoying the new character actor phase of his career. You also feel that he was drawn to the material on an emotional level as the film delves deep into family loss and you can imagine Travolta saw something which connected with the death of his son in 2009.
The Forger’s big failing is that the final act feels like it was grafted on to give the film a Hollywood-style big heist. It doesn’t feel organic enough to what has come before but it does give the film something to work towards. Another issues is that the always good value Anson Mount is given little to do as the heavy who is pulling the strings behind Travolta’s life of crime. The Forger works best in the quieter moments which see the dysfunctional family interacting with each other away from the criminal plot line that underpins the movie.
The Forger is an enjoyable crime drama with impressive performances from its cast. It may not be a masterpiece that sits alongside John Travolta’s best movies, but it is worth catching on DVD.