Sandra Bullock’s next Netflix entry has too much anger.
I wasn’t too thrilled about seeing “The Unforgivable” given some of the mixed-to-negative critical reactions, and that I was a bit overwhelmed with some things. But when my mother watched it on Netflix and she enjoyed it, I decided to find the time to give it a chance. While I admired some of the performances and its tension, I felt it was bit too angry and sometimes off-topic for me too fully enjoy.
Inspired by the British miniseries “Unforgiven,” the story follows Sandra Bullock as a woman named Ruth Slader, who got sent to prison for murdering the sheriff (W. Earl Brown) who evicted her and her 5-year-old sister Katie from their home. Released early for good behavior, she must reside in a crack house in Chinatown with her parole officer (Rob Morgan) up her ass, and must work in a fish factory, where her only friend is her co-worker Blake (Jon Bernthal). So, since she has skillsets as a carpenter, she lands a second job building a community center for the homeless.
Vincent D’Onofrio and Viola Davis play a couple John and Liz Ingram, who buy Ruth’s old home, and don’t know she was the murderer. Since John is a lawyer, Ruth asks him to help her find out the whereabouts of Katie. Eventually, he finds out about her criminal record, as does his wife, and reluctantly agrees to help her.
Katie (Aisling Franciosi) has been adopted by the Malcolms, and barely remembers her relationship with Ruth, other than some nightmares she’s been having. Her step-sister Emily (Emma Nelson) is the only one willing to solve Katie’s mystery, while she has to be the background character, who would rather play the piano than solve her past.
Then, there’s one of the dead sheriff’s two sons, Keith (Tom Guiry from “The Sandlot”), who is poisoned by Ruth’s release, and tries to convince his brother Steve (Will Pullen) to help him avenge their father. They devise a plan to destroy her life for good. The most off-topic and random situation in this subplot is when Steve catches his wife sleeping with his brother. That was uncalled for and is a tedious attempt to push his anger further. My mother agreed with me on this.
Bullock, in her first role since “Bird Box” (also released by Netflix), gives a good performance when she deals with the sadness and anger of her life. She has the right make-up and vulnerabilities to make everyone think she is the most hated person in town. There’s a twist to her story that’s more interesting than the routine “COP KILLER!” shoutings. My mother felt that’s as interesting as well.
“The Unforgivable” also has some likable performances from Morgan, Pullen, Bernthal, and Nelson, and some genuinely emotional moments, but they have to be overshadowed by the film’s anger and cliches. At times, I was interested by how the movie wants the main heroine to try to think she can make things right, while the hatred threatens to destroy hers, and at times, I was aggravated by all the hatred. I don’t care what you think of my opinion.
Wouldn’t it be better if the little sister wasn’t treated like a shadow character and had to figure out her past? Or would that have taken away from what the story is trying to covey? I’m not sure.
Now Streaming on Netflix