The Forger: Heist-Flick Misfires, Poor Travolta Gets Hit
Christopher PlummerJohn Travolta...
Action & AdventureThriller
History has shown us that John Travolta can, when in the right frame of mind, be a very capable actor and that, given the right circumstance, can command the screen in any role – see Pulp Fiction, Face Off and Grease. However, his most recent of career choices – don’t see Killing Season or Wild Hogs – have been well documented and they seem to be putting more nails in the proverbial coffin of an actor that has proven he can hang with the heavyweights.
Unfortunately his latest foray doesn’t suggest that things will get better; The Forger is an uninspired and flat crime-drama that, despite its relatively sellable premise and solid casting, just doesn’t come together.
Set in Boston, Massachusetts, The Forger follows the story of Raymond ‘Ray’ Cutter (Travolta); a gifted thief and art forger who, despite only having another ten months to go before the end of his prison sentence, is desperate to get out as early as possible to tend to his estranged teenage son, Will (Sheridan), who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
He turns to the very man who put him in prison, crime-boss Keegan (Mount), but as is the case with the shady underworld, there’s a catch.
In exchange for his help in getting him out of prison, Cutter – apart from having to pay a hefty sum for the favour – is to steal Monet’s Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son and replace it with a fake and the job becomes a family affair when, he involves both his former conman father (Plummer).
Despite Travolta and Will sharing some amiable chemistry in a fairly successful father-son dynamic, one of the things that sticks out like a sore thumb in is how distant The Forger is; although quite pithy and to-the-point, it’s also vague and formless, in a way. It lacks any real distinctive spirit despite its decent cast and audiences are asked to accept Ray’s uncanny skill for recreating artistic masterpieces with no explanation or back-story, leaving scenes of Travolta seemingly immersed in his work in front of a canvas futile – not to mention the dubious goatee that he sports through the film.
Travolta, will once again, be the main target of criticism but the heart of the problem is the script; it feels unfinished, unpolished and doesn't have a clear aim – and that aim can be as simple to entertain – or message. Kudos for Travolta's wig, though – it's rather magnificent.