Synopsis – A thief works with his father and son to forge a painting by Monet and steal the original. Together, they plan the heist of their lives.
My Take – While the suggestive title or poster & the genre of crime thriller suggests an action oriented heist type of movie, this film is anything but that! Instead its more of an emotional father – son relationship tale. It certainly has a heist element, but it is sparingly used as a set for the more prioritized human drama. While it is pretty heartwarming and the acting seems presentable, the slow pace and lack of suspense might deter some audiences. The story follows art forger Ray Cutter (John Travolta) returns early after his imprisonment to find his father Joseph Cutter (Christopher Plummer) and son Will Cutter (Tye Sheridan) are not so welcoming & wonder how he got out so early. Will Cutter has always felt betrayed by his criminal dad and asks for three wishes before he dies of brain cancer. His first wish is to meet his drug addicted mom Kim (Jennifer Ehle) which finally happens after Raymond convinces her to. His second wish is to have sex, so Raymond takes his son to a prostitute but the transaction never takes place because it was disrupted by Agent Paisley Abigail Spencer), who is building a case against his boss Keegan (Anson Mount). His third and final wish was to help his father pull off an art heist, which is Raymond’s only way to repay his debt to Keegan.
When you think of a heist film you think of non stop suspense and edge of your seat moments. This film was the opposite of that, but in saying that, it wasn’t actually as bad as you would think. While this film is bland and quite unoriginal when regarding the overall plot is to steal something and replace it with a forgery surprisingly the father son relationship and interactions seemed to work. At first I thought the relationship they were setting up with John Travolta’s son was going to bog down the film when it actually elevated it. The longer the film went on and you got to learn more about the characters the more i was able to buy what they were going through. They could have just thrown everything together with not much care but the fact that everyone put in effort really shows and is nice to see. Again, I thought I had a rough outline of where it was going to go, I thought the cops would find out he was being blackmailed or something and then let him go because it was all a big misunderstanding but once again, no, it played out much differently than that. The film builds up nicely to the conclusion, even if it was odd to see characters being so calm even though an alarm went off but they picked up the pace in the end. It made me laugh beforehand where Joseph Cutter said something about a toast to the work they had done and I was just thinking, that Raymond did all the work. I’d have thought that the major picture would have been on a grander display and I know it wouldn’t have been an interesting film but I thought why couldn’t Raymond just give the fake picture to the bad guy but then the film went on and surprised once again. You do start to wonder why Raymond just didn’t become a regular painter as he clearly has the skill and I started to wonder if John Travolta has some skill at this as well, during the film we clearly see him paint and it’s actually pretty impressive and doing some research, he actually did prepare for the role, it’s always little things like that, that really add a lot to a film. And the film actually had somewhat of an ambiguous end, sure everything seems happy enough but the final conversation seemed a bit sad and I thought Raymond’s wish would have been to spend more time with his son. It also helps that the acting is really great, John Travolta still has it and he adds many of his own quirks to it that make his character his own like a thumbs up in one scene in particular, he also has a few fight scenes and he just did not stop in those. They were great and one of them outside a shop went on a little longer than I thought it would, it was all one take and the way Travolta’s character got back up at the end, happened really fast and it was surprising as it didn’t just end with him on the floor defeated.
Honestly, I couldn’t help getting distracted by his awkward wig and goatee. Tye Sheridan is good as well. His character suffers from a disease and deteriorates throughout the movie. He maintains a distant relationship without being too obnoxious or exaggerated, the audiences will most likely sympathize with this father-son bond. Christopher Plummer was a lot of fun, he just cussed the whole time and did not give a damn about what anyone else thought, and it was great. Yet, the main concern here is the film moves too slow, almost two third of it is invested on the drama, at some points it drags longer than needed. This movie is being labelled as a Crime, Drama Thriller, the problem was that it wasn’t much of a drama and definitely was not a thriller, and didn’t have a whole lot of interesting crime. They didn’t really explain a lot of things clearly enough initially so you are kind of realizing what John Travolta is trying to do as he does it. And so you are left without any plot to get engaged into and can only focus on the father – son relationship. On the whole, ‘The Forger’, is not a bad film, but yet it clearly suffers from not knowing what type of film this it is. It has been labelled as a crime thriller, and advertised as a crime thriller with a little bit of drama in there. What it should have been advertised as is a crime drama, with an emphasis on the drama and also build the film based on the father – son relationship without the uninteresting ‘thriller’ scenes. That being said, even though it suffered in terms of the plot and script the back and forth between John Travolta – Tye Sheridan – Christopher Plummer elevated the film over time. You’ll probably be mildly entertained.
Director – Philip Martin
Rated – R
Run Time – 92 minutes