“Life is cheap” You occasionally hear this when people are talking about war-torn or poor countries. In The Forgiven, starring Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain, they get to learn that every life is precious no matter what the circumstances.
David (Fiennes) is a doctor who is bitter, angry, an alcoholic and just pissed off with life, nothing seems to make him happy and his marriage to Jo (Jessica Chastain) is falling apart. They get invited to a friend’s party in Morocco but face a 4-hour drive to reach the mansion where they live. Having been drinking all day they both get into an argument and while driving down a dark road, hit a young child and kill him.
Arriving at the party with the body in the car, Richard (Matt Smith) tells them to truthfully tell the police what happened and assures them that it can be solved easily and quickly. But things get more complex when the boy’s father Abdellah (Ismael Kanater) turns up to collect the body. He also demands that David goes back with him to his village to bury his son as a mark of respect. At first, David refuses, being racist and saying that as far as he knows they could belong to Isis and murder him. When he has calmed down he agrees to go and during the journey, he slowly gets to see what life is like for the nomadic Moroccan people.
Meanwhile back at the party Jo has a fling with another guest and starts to realise that her life is a mess and questions what lies ahead. When David gets back to the mansion they all decide to leave but fate will catch up with them in an unexpected way.
This movie is about many things under the surface, privilege, money, and redemption, many of these are shown on the surface as most of the guests at the party are horrible spoilt rich people who expect everything that they demand. David slowly becomes a changed man and realises the horrible tragedy he has put on this family.
Excellent performances and a dark sense of humour help the film as well as a sense of knowing something may happen at any time. The spoilt rich guests really do come across as horrendous people and you wonder how the locals working there put up with it all.
The Blu-ray has an excellent 1080P transfer which really shows off the cinematography by Larry Smith superbly. Audio has a good 5.1 mix which although mainly dialogue and centre stage does bring a good atmosphere to the movie. The extras are sadly just a trailer.
Overall a good if slightly overlong drama with excellent performances by all, this comes recommended.
FILM – 7.5 PICTURE – 8 AUDIO – 7.5 EXTRAS – 1