There was a time when having several Movie stars it was almost synonymous with success, as its names drew many people to its nearest room. Obviously, some sold more than others, but it was to a certain extent comfortable to get a movie off the ground as soon as the rest of the elements weren’t a disaster. We left that era long ago and now many titles in the filmographies of well-known performers end up going very unnoticed.
Everything points to ‘The Forgiven’ It will be one of those films, since its commercial career has been somewhat disastrous – it accumulates just over 300,000 dollars in North American theaters almost a month after its premiere. It has been of little use to have a cast led by Ralph Fiennes Y Jessica Chastain, because at the moment of truth it does not seem to have anything special. And once you see it, you can’t say that it’s especially memorable either, but it is a good movie. No more no less.
A curious cocktail of genres
‘The Forgiven’ revolves around how a couple deals with a tragic accident on their way to a big party at a friends’ house in a secluded Moroccan mansion. From those items, John Michael McDonagh take the novel from Lawrence Osborne to offer us a film that seeks reflection from the drama, but also has room for humor, thriller and even to offer an approach to the banality of the upper classes.
To do this, the author of ‘El irish’ or ‘Calvary’ bets on a relaxed rhythm but always lively enough so that the viewer never gets to disconnect. A useful resource for this lies in the fact that history soon splits into two distinct frontsthe first led by Fiennes and the second by Chastain, skipping between them with ease so that to some extent temporarily link the evolution suffered by their characters.
What is not so successful is McDonagh’s attempt to find a gray moral point to define his characters, with special emphasis on his two protagonists. And it’s not because it ends up being a bit obvious, especially everything related to the awakening of Chastain’s character, who is initially limited to a more passive role within the story.
It stays a little in the middle
In return, there are small details in which ‘The Forgiven’ does come close to achieving that shine that its set lacks, especially during the physical and emotional journey that Fiennes’ character is going through. There are scenes there. McDonagh manages to mix with ease that crossover of genres that characterizes the film, working particularly well the dynamic that arises between the protagonist and the character played by Said Taghmaoui. There is reflection but also humor, dramatic gravity and emotional closeness.
That is what the film seems to be looking for at all levels, but in other situations it ends up falling short., both because of how obvious his intentions become and because he lacks more decision to get the desired reaction from the viewer. It is true that technically and even in the staging work it almost seems that we are seeing more of a classic film than a recently released one, but it is that years ago solvent but not especially stimulating proposals also arrived.
Otherwise, the setting work is impeccable, which is essential to provide that touch of verisimilitude necessary to introduce the viewer to the story. In addition, this highlights how eccentric everything is around that celebration that ends up being left in the background for the benefit of the self-realization of the characters of Fiennes and Chastain.
‘The Forgiven’ is not one of those films that is going to change your life and it is not that Fiennes and Chastain offer such magnificent performances that they make their viewing essential -yes, they are both quite good, more him than her, but they are not surprising either-, but yes, it is an interesting proposal and something against the current that should not be dismissed out of hand.