FunAstrology“The Unforgivable” in the cinema: Which one does not...

“The Unforgivable” in the cinema: Which one does not forgive

After “Systemsprenger”, director Nora Fingscheidt makes a disappointing Hollywood debut on Netflix: “The Unforgivable” with Sandra Bullock.

Siegfried Kracauer, the great film critic, began his review of “Mata Hari” with a sentence about the leading actress: “You go to the cinema to see Garbo, but what a mischief you have to endure her.”

Anyone who tunes in to the thriller “The Unforgivable” on Netflix to see Sandra Bullock will think similar things. Lately, this actress has had few opportunities to use her talent in a leading role. In fact, she bravely plays her way through this formulaic story of a person released from prison after twenty years: How difficult it is to re-socialize in the United States can be seen from the fact that many states still have a surefire way to combat it with lethal injection. The film title then overwrites the drama with an aura of unforgivability, as if trying to take on Dostoevsky. According to an old Hollywood convention, criminals condemned to be film heroes turn out to be innocent in the course of the plot – just so as not to make it too difficult for the non-forgiving part of the audience.

Arguments of many obstacles

It can be grateful for movie stars to run up to unexpected size, especially in conventional fabrics, but there are simply too many obstacles in the way. In addition to the script, an adaptation of a British miniseries from 2009 (“Unforgiven”), there is unfortunately an over-ambitious director: of all people, Nora Fingscheidt, the director of the masterful drama “Systemsprenger”, is behind the crude dramaturgy, bogged down with flashback sequences.

Despite the excellent cast, nothing of the qualities of this actor’s film, which was achieved in long preparation, can be found here. Vincent D’Onofrio and Viola Davis, who now live in the house where the Bullock character once lived alone with her little sister as a teenager, seem almost given away in supporting roles. A policeman was killed during the eviction, which brought her to prison (Bullock must play a character who should be a good ten years younger than herself). The current resident happens to be a philanthropic lawyer who wants to help reunite the sisters.

But even more storylines want to be squeezed into this series dramaturgy condensed into a single film: The attempt to build a life against all prejudices and a timid love story is faced with a crude plot of revenge – the sons of the dead policeman urge retaliation.

Why do talented people do this to themselves? You have to add Hans Zimmer, whose name stands above an obscure, booming, haplessly emotion-seeking film music.

Is it really that glorious to take on a Netflix contract on the waves of a well-deserved success like the “system sprinkler”, which is also successful in the USA? Only a few feature film productions have lived up to the expectations with which the streaming service started. Most of the films that Netflix produces are underfunded genre films, for which the direct-to-video market would previously have existed. It has to be clear what to expect here. We are happy to hire young filmmakers who may have a name, but who do not yet ask for too high a fee. This is of course not “unforgivable”, but it is dispensable – at least on the part of the audience.

The Unforgivable. USA 2021. Regie: Nora Fingscheidt. 118 Min.

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