forsaken trailer

As long as people have been making movies, they’ve been telling stories about outlaws returning home, trying to put their dark pasts behind them, and finding their talent for violence coming in handy when bad guys come calling. Nothing about director Jon Cassar‘s Forsaken looks particularly original or unique, but when you’re dealing with a genre as classical as the western, that may not be a bad thing. Sometimes, the same song performed by a fresh band can be mighty pleasing.

The obvious hook here is Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland playing father and son, but as you can see in the trailer below, the real attraction is the chance to watch an old school western that is seemingly free of pretense.

The past year has been kind to this genre, giving us the oddball Slow West, the despairing The Keeping Room, the ornery The Hateful Eight, and the hypnotic genre mash-up Bone Tomahawk. Forsaken, along with the upcoming Jane Got a Gun, looks ready to carry this torch well into the new year. While most modern westerns go out of their way to invert or challenge the traditional form, Cassar and company seem to be embracing the past. Forsaken looks like an old fashioned B-movie western and I mean that in the nicest way possible. I will watch the hell out of this thing.

Cassar, best known for producing and directing many episodes of 24, has assembled a strong cast here. In addition to Kiefer Sutherland (whom he had already directed as television’s Jack Bauer many times) and Donald Sutherland, Demi Moore is on hand as a love interest and Brian Cox is around to twirl his mustache as the bad guy. However, the real star here is Kiefer Sutherland’s tortured rasp of a voice, which sounds just about perfect when it emerges from under the brim of a cowboy hat.

Here’s the official synopsis for the film:

In 1872, John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) retires as a gunfighter and returns to his hometown of Fowler, Wyoming in hope of repairing his relationship with his estranged father, Reverend Clayton (Donald Sutherland). However, he soon learns that the town is in turmoil, as the railroad will be coming through the area and a criminal gang is terrorizing ranchers who refuse to sell their land. John Henry is the only one who can stop them, but his father does not want his son to return to a life of violence.

Forsaken will open in select theaters on February 19, 2016. You should be able to track it down on your VOD platform of choice not long after that.

forsaken trailer

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