“Once a criminal, always a criminal”.
It is this obliterating maxim that guides the structure of “Unforgivable”, the new drama from Netflix. The promising feature film, starring Oscar winner Sandra Bullock, revolves around Ruth Slater, a woman who was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the murder of the sheriff in the small town where she lived. After serving her sentence, she begins her life again facing obstacles one might imagine in a setting like this – and her main goal is to reunite with her sister, Katie (Aisling Franciosi), who was just a a child at the time of the tragedy. and was delivered to social services, eventually adopted by a family who refused to share their past.
When we think of Bullock we are automatically drawn to the plot no matter what the scenario, like an FBI agent disguising himself as a dud to stop an assassination, a crook who wants to steal a diamond necklace, or an astronaut. which gets lost in the immensity of space. It’s no surprise that the announcement of his participation in a new original project by one of the streaming giants has sparked the interest of a wide variety of audiences – especially those already gearing up for awards season. Of course, the actress will not disappoint those who are eager to see her again in action, and in fact the performer delivers a spectacular performance that reiterates an impressive, enviable and breathtaking versatility. The problem is that the film, even focused on what it wants to deliver, cannot follow it and plunges into a cyclical and tedious narrative that does not know where to go.
The production is directed by Nora Fingscheidt, a German director who made her official debut in the entertainment scene in the mid-2000s. A decade and a half later, Fingscheidt was hired by Netflix to direct their first English title, promising to make the best of the adaptation of the British series of the same name released in 2009. At first, the elements presented follow a basic formula, in which a fearless character leaves the reality he has come to know and returns to a cruel world who, he seems unwilling to give you a second chance, even though you did what you were doomed to. Ruth, marked by all she has lost and the fortress she has built around her personality to protect herself from anyone; however, a ghost insists on coming back to haunt her and remind her that she has unfinished business (and that sooner or later they will catch up).
When it comes to performance, Bullock does what one would expect of a well-established Hollywood artist, going unrecognizable and embracing the characteristics of what exudes extensive field research. With each act, the delineation it provides to the protagonist takes on a new layer, deconstructing the plastered figure presented to us in the opening sequences and demonstrating that she feels guilty for making bad decisions and abandoning her sister. . While not necessarily co-starring with the rest of the cast, we have other stars of weight in the production, including Viola Davis and Vincent D’Onofrio as Liz and John Ingram, and Richard Thomas and Linda Emond. as Michael and Rachel Malcolm – all doing their best within the constraints involved in the plot.
As the work unfolds, the atmosphere enters dark, dense territory – and here I’m not saying in a positive way, so to speak. Obviously, Ruth’s Arc is built on a path of rise and fall that goes back to the most classic characters in the genre, treating with caution what it stands for so as not to touch the melodramatic. However, Fingscheidt’s conduct oscillates between odd manners and predictable forays premeditated by a pedantic and exaggerated soundtrack; in other words, it fosters a constant return to fuzzy memories of Ruth and Katie, the outcome of which reaches a sort of “happy ending” in the most frustrating way possible. This fragmentation (a recurring thing in several films and series that I have watched recently) denotes a stylistic concern that borders on hyperbole and leaves out very important elements – such as the script.
There is nothing new to see in the attacks of images, like the color palette (which isolates itself in a monochromatic speech) and the photograph (with its framing without too much imagination). Contributing to the story, Peter Craig, Hillary Seitz and Courtenay Miles know what they want to do up to a point; but after the shocking twist that anticipates the conclusion, events drag on in a profusion of unnecessary characters who do nothing to themselves and others. If it hadn’t been for the skill of a team of actors and actresses who command every scene they play (especially the flawless embodiment of Bullock, who could earn an Oscar nomination), the title would just be cheap entertainment without something original to tell. .
“Unforgivable” is not entirely disagreeable, but it is not good either. Beyond the positives mentioned in the paragraphs above, there is a certain rigor that Fingscheidt and his collaborators cling to – and, trying to go further than they can, let their unbridled ambition take hold. above.
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