7/10 Based upon the 2012 novel of the same name, “The Forgiven” is about a wealthy couple on the verge of divorce who run over and kill a local Moroccan boy and the ramifications that follow. Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, the film is well made and showcases some brilliant performances. Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain play the pretentious, privileged couple and are both fantastic while Matt Smith, Christopher Abbott and Caleb Landry Jones make up the strong supporting cast. The cinematography is beautiful as it captures the vast warmth of the Moroccan desert and inside of the glamorous compound where over the top parties are thrown, like the one that Jo (Chastain) and David (Fiennes) are invited to. The mixing of cultures and power dynamics are fascinating as local Moroccans have to serve wealthy foreigners who often don’t respect their land. The film looks at privilege without ever lecturing the audience or making any one group feel guilty about themselves. The film does a great job of balancing political undertones, dark humor (mainly from David’s dry sense of humor), the suspense of what faces David for his actions and more. While most characters remain rather shallow, one of the main characters gets a surprisingly nice and redemptive character arc at the end of the film, which makes the overall film feel a lot deeper than many of the intentionally shallow characters. The Moroccan characters are some of the best in the film and have the greatest emotional content. As for what doesn’t work, the pacing does drag a little bit in certain spots as you will feel the two hour run time in the second act. While composer Lorne Balfe is a great talent, his score is forgettable and won’t stay with you for a second after the film ends. Most of the characters are unlikeable which can make certain stretches of the film a little harder to watch. That being said, I would still recommend this film to patient viewers if the trailer appeals to you. McDonagh displays talent behind the camera and is smart enough to rely on his talented cast to get the job done. It isn’t the most memorable film in the world but McDonagh’s balancing act, some beautiful cinematography/lighting and a remarkable cast make this at least worth watching at home.

#MoroccantHandleHisLiquor / #AFossilFall / #AMostViolentSteer / #FridayNightWhites / #DavidAndJoLieth / #AbhorrenceOfArabia

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