The Forgiven is a British drama film that is based on the play titled The Archbishop and the Antichrist by Michael Ashton that tells a story that centers around Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s search for answers during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and his meetings with the fictional character Piet Blomfield.
Taking place after the end of apartheid, Archbishop Tutu is running the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and he visits Cape Town’s Pollsmoor Maxmium Security Prison to met with Piet Blomfield, an ex-South African Defense Force officer and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging member, to assess his candidacy for amnesty. Blomfield is a potential witness to murders that were committed during the time of Apartheid, particularly the murder of the teenage daughter of Mrs. Morobe, who begs the Archbishop to find answers about her missing daughter. Blomfield shows absolutely no regret or willingness to speak, instead he is using his time during the meetings to berate the Archbishop. An attempt on his life by another prisoner causes him to begin considering a confession, but some other people involved in the murder are working at Pollsmoor and really do not wish for the information to be revealed.
The film made its premiere at the London Film Festival on October 13, 2017. It was also shown as the closing film at the Pan African Film Festival on February 19, 2018 and was shown at the Belgrade Film Festival before being released in the United States on March 9, 2018. Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the ‘sluggishly paced film’s disparate parts never come together as a compelling whole.” While Glenn Kenny of The New York Times noted that the film ‘is heavy-handed from its early texts explaining apartheid through its end credits’ but praised the performances of both Forest Whitaker and Eric Bana.
The Film Itself (3/5):
The Forgiven is a film that offers a considerable amount of storylines that allows for the audience to follow the overall complexity of what is unfolding before their eyes; however, it never really comes to fruition and combines those narratives together as a whole, making it one big story. As each characters story does a really great job at grabbing the audiences attention, both my wife and I found some issues with it maintaining our attention as the progression seemed to drag on. Everyone involved with this film gave a really fantastic and compelling performance that, I feel, they should be credited for; however, there were some issues with the movie as a whole that I couldn’t get past.
Picture Quality (5/5):
The overall picture quality of the Blu-ray release of The Forgiven looked really great as it played out across my living room television. Offering some really beautiful scenic moments as the camera would pan out across the horizon, the overall positioning of the shots really helped in relaying the emotional presentation that was being given at any given moment. The scenes that featured less than your standard amount of lighting offered more than enough ambient lighting that allowed for things to be seen and understood without having to add focus to the film.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, The Forgiven does everything that it can to offer an immersive experience for its viewers. While the presentation offered, what felt like, was proper use of the front and rear channels of the stream, I feel that this movie would have fared better with the inclusion of the surround channels. While most of the movie didn’t really call for the inclusion of the surround aspect, I feel that it would have done better by moving the ambient aspects of the film’s audio track to those channels as it would have done a better job at placing my wife and I in the middle of everything. Dialogue was clean, and everyone spoke clear enough that allowed for not having to adjust the volume levels throughout.
The Packaging (2/5):
The Blu-ray release of The Forgiven comes packaged in your standard single-disc Blu-ray amaray case. Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film, the disc featuring a piece of artwork that’s related to the film and completely different than that of the case art. There are no DVD copies included with this release; however, there is a digital copy redemption pamphlet for the available streaming options. There is also a slipcover that’s been provided during the original pressing that features the same piece of artwork that’s been provided on the case art.
Special Features (0/5):
Normally, I would completely remove the rating from this section when there aren’t any features provided on a release; however, The Forgiven has it available as a menu option, despite there really being no “real” special features provided. The only features that are available within this menu item is the ability to re-play the handful of trailers that start playing when you first put the disc into your player as well as the ability to navigate any bookmarks that you may set as you watch the movie.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Original Film: 115 minutes
Overall, The Forgiven wasn’t terrible; but, I really feel that they could have done a lot more in terms of the storyline as they should have done a better job at bringing everything together as a whole. The performances from the cast and crew were above and beyond, but that’s all it really had going for it. The visual and audio presentation of the release were really well done, despite my personal feeling that it should have been packaged with a 7.1 track at a minimum. Special features are practically nonexistent despite them actually being labeled as such. If you’re considering checking this release out, I would definitely recommend renting it before picking it up for your collection to make sure that it’s something that you might enjoy. The Forgiven will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.