In 2015, the movie Forsaken hit the big screen starring Esther Purves-Smith, Kiefer Sutherland, and Donald Sutherland. This western drama takes place in the 1870s and follows John Henry Clayton, played by Kiefer Sutherland, who returns home after a decade-long absence to repair the strained relationship with his father Reverend Clayton, played by Donald Sutherland.
John Henry Clayton is a former gunslinger who left his hometown after a tragic incident that left him traumatised. He has since decided to live a peaceful life and renounce his violent past. However, he finds that his hometown is plagued with a gang of ruthless outlaws led by James McCurdy, played by Brian Cox, and his son Will, played by Aaron Poole. Will is a former friend of John Henry Clayton, which adds a layer of complexity to their relationship.
As John Henry Clayton tries to reconcile with his father, he also finds himself unwillingly pulled back into the life of violence he left behind when McCurdy's gang threatens the town and his family. He struggles with his desire to protect his loved ones and live a peaceful life in contrast with his violent past.
The movie's themes revolve around the consequences of violence, vengeance, and redemption. As John Henry Clayton tries to protect the town in the midst of the gang's violence, he is forced to face his past and confront the inner demons that he thought he had left behind. This emotional journey is portrayed excellently by Kiefer Sutherland's acting, with flashbacks giving audiences a glimpse into the horrors that led him to renounce his previous life.
Donald Sutherland's performance as the town's reverend is also noteworthy, portraying a man who is at odds with his son's past and his own principles. He struggles with his faith and how to incorporate his beliefs into his response to the violence that threatens his town.
Esther Purves-Smith plays Mary-Alice Watson, a love interest for John Henry Clayton and the town's school teacher. Her character provides a welcomed softness and lightness to a story that is otherwise dark and violent.
The cinematography is breathtaking, capturing the raw beauty of the landscapes and emphasising the desolate nature of the town, which serves as a stark contrast to the violence that takes place there.
Overall, Forsaken is a compelling western drama that explores the impact of violence on individuals and society. The exceptional performances by Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland, along with the touching romantic subplot, make it a must-watch for fans of the genre.
Forsaken is a 2016 western. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 55.