Power dynamics unfurl after an accident shakes everything loose in The Forgiven, the latest from writer/director John Michael McDonagh.
Based on the book of the same name, the film revolves around the interactions between locals in Morocco and the wealthy foreign dilettantes whiling away their time there. The two groups are forced together when a drunk foreigner hits a local with his car, killing the young man. He attempts to play off the death as an innocent accident, hiding within the power of white foreigners, but when the family shows up to claim the body it becomes difficult to avoid the repercussions.
Power run amok is fertile ground for dramas like this, giving filmmakers lots of ways to poke and prod at the ways Westerners intrude thoughtlessly upon the lives of others. Letting tension fed by ill deeds fester is familiar territory for McDonagh, who has impressed with films like Calvary.
Like in his previous movies, McDonagh is working with an ace cast. The drunk driver is played by Ralph Fiennes with his put-upon but devious in her own ways wife played by Jessica Chastain. Bouncing off these two are Abbey Lee, Matt Smith, Caleb Landry Jones, Christopher Abbott, and Saïd Taghmaoui in supporting roles.
The intrigue is nestled within a straightforward-looking prestige drama, but hopefully, the mess comes to the fore.
The Forgiven is directed by John Michael McDonagh and stars Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, and Matt Smith. It will be released in the US on July 1st and in the UK on September 2nd. For international release dates, click here.
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