I am still on the edge if I really like this movie or if I strongly detest it.
The Unforgivable is yet another Sandra Bullock movie that has made me appreciate her newer characters, which unironically are of a frustrated caregiver in very difficult situations. She aces the helpless yet determined caregiver character and she gets better with every movie.
This Netflix movie is a very confusing one. On one hand, I love how they presented the story and on the other hand, I hate how unfinished it felt. Although we get a satisfactory ending, there are a lot of untied ends remaining, especially about the supporting characters.
I am starting to recognize a trend in Netflix movies and shows where they introduce characters, build them, give them a story, and completely throw them out of the entire cycle like they don't exist or never mattered. It is extremely annoying to come across this repeatedly, especially when I get invested in said characters.
The story is very simple. Ruth Slater, the protagonist played by Sandra Bullock, is released from prison after serving 20 years for a violent crime. She now is tasked with merging with society after being barred from it, and that is with a metaphorical "criminal" sign stamped on her forehead.
But Ruth's main aim is to find a person who we are still unsure of whether that person is her younger sister or daughter. The young girl was taken away from Ruth and her being a criminal isn't going to make it easy to reunite with Katie Slater.
I love how Sandra manifested the emotions of Ruth in the movie. The acting was incredible. We learn to see Ruth as a level-headed person, calm, calculated, and not a nutcase. She doesn't come off as a person who would spend 20 years in prison for a violent crime. But at the same time, Sandra does an incredible job at showing us how a person who has been barred from society for 20 years can feel when they get out. There is this constant look of fatigue, frustration, and vivid disconnection and confusion on her face.
I honestly love the cast. Jon Bernthal, Aaron Pearl, Vincent D'Onofrio, Sandra Bullock, amazing actors. But I hate how they have used this talented lot of actors.
For instance, Jon plays Blake, who is a colleague to Ruth's newly found job. They kick off very quickly and start building a connection. I was hoping for Blake to play a big role in the story but all of a sudden Blake is completely out of the story. So what's the reason for building up an intimate connection with the protagonist? And why do we we learn about this "Secret" of Blake's which explains his actions and what do we do with this knowledge?
Then there is D'Onofrio, who plays John Ingram. He is a lawyer who currently lives where Ruth's unfortunate incident took place and is a very kind hearted guy. But from his first appearance he is incredibly unrealistic. Imagine bringing in a stranger who is staring at your house creepily from a distance and introducing them to your family. Also, how did his unsure actions help with the story?
What a waste of beautiful talents!
Then there are the brothers. From the beginning of the movie, we learn that they are certainly not happy that Ruth is walking out on good behavior after murdering their father, who was a cop btw, and are debating revenge. But then they add no weight to the story anymore.
What was the reason for showing us Keith's brother sleeping with Keith's wife? Was it to justify Keith's aggressive decision-making towards Ruth? Was the murder of his father not a good enough motive something irrational?
Liz Ingram is another underwhelming character. The lawyer's wife. She is there for two reasons only: to eventually become Ruth's driver, and a scapegoat to show us the truth about Ruth's story. I bet there were better ways of giving us Ruth's grand reveal other than building a character to be a scapegoat.
The movie is good. Except for the parts where there are redundant characters and unnecessary branching of the story.
The movie forces us to look at both sides of the coin. One thing I took away from this story is that the law isn't black and white. It is a very dirty grey. Humans are very complicated and it is incredibly challenging to lay down a sentence and be satisfied with it to execute justice.
I love how slow and solemn the pace of the movie is. We learn something new about every character as time passes, and are forced to rewrite our first impressions about them.
Like the character Keith, a good hardworking guy. Very against taking revenge. But then completely breaks down when he catches his wife cheating on him with his own brother as their baby daughter is left crying in a different room. Then he beats up his brother and his cheating wife kinda uses their baby as a shield. Kinda messed up, but it is what it is. And now we know the other side of a Keith that shouldn't have come out in a perfect world.
The character Rachel Malcolm, Ruth's sister's foster mother. She comes out as being very unaccepting of the cop-killer Ruth and doesn't want her daughter to be anywhere near Ruth. But at the same time, she has carefully secured the letters Ruth wrote to her sister for the right time to hand them over to the younger sister.
To truly appreciate the story, I think, it has to be either watched more than once or should be reflected upon for some time. There is a larger meaning behind every character and their actions. Especially Ruth's. But The Unforgivable would honestly do so much better as a mini-series, I believe. There are so many characters and so much depth to them that it is impossible to explore them to the fullest in such a short time.
Great movie. Very deserving of the 7/10 on IMDB.