If you’re looking for a straightforward western with a great cast then Forsaken is the movie for you. Kiefer Sutherland joins forces with his father Donald for the first time (they never shared a screen in Joel Schumacher’s A Time To Kill), while Brian Cox, Michael Wincott and Demi Moore offer support in a tale of a retired gunslinger returning to the family home in search of peace. However, the former tough guy isn’t allowed to put his demons to rest and trouble and strife come knocking at his door and it’s only a matter of time before he has to strap on his six gun and ride into town for a final showdown.
Forsaken doesn’t try to deconstruct the western genre as director Jon Cassar embraces its many tropes and delivers a film with drama, action and tension. It’s firmly in the Clint Eastwood camp of the ‘oater’ and the shadow of Big Clint looms large over Forsaken. There’s a Pale Rider/Unforgiven vibe to proceedings and while Sutherland Jr might not have Eastwood’s gravitas, the former Young Gun does carry a certain amount of his steely demeanor and gravelly voice.
The Sutherlands make for a well-matched pair and both Brian Cox and Michael Wincott are good, however sadly it’s Demi Moore who lets the side down. She isn’t given much to do – crazy to think that she was once the highest paid actress on the planet. I can only imagine she saw the script and said, ‘Gimme Moore!”.
A straight-up, no-holds barred western, Forsaken doesn’t aspire to be anything other than a good old fashioned flick. It’s not going to revolutionise the genre – or indeed bring it back from the edge of extinction – but it delivers on the promise to entertain, which was made by Hollywood decades ago.