Released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime, Ruth Slater (Bullock) re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past. Facing severe judgment from the place she once called home, her only hope for redemption is finding the estranged younger sister she was forced to leave behind.
With as long of a film career as Sandra Bullock has had, it’s always nice seeing her shake it up on the big screen. The Unforgivable does that easily, but may also trigger some viewers with the material. It deals with a sensitive topic that most can understand, and doesn’t put Bullock’s character, Ruth, in the best light as a protagonist. She’s a cop killer now set free, and her surrounding peers do not approve of her newfound freedom. How does she rebuild her life? How do other victims react? These are all questions answered thoroughly within this film, and it’s an interesting dynamic witnessing it all unfold.
What stands out about Ruth (Bullock) is her silence as she navigates her new life. Distraught about what happened twenty years prior she mopes around in sadness looking at paint dry on random walls, and catches herself staring into deep space pondering constantly on what the next day will bring. It’s a different lens for Bullock, who usually fulfills roles of adventure and delight, but this time it’s rotten and sour. It’s clear prison life has hardened her, so you better get out of her way, and she has no issues moving you if you invade her personal space. She looks like oatmeal trying to stay above room temperature, but given the circumstances it all makes sense. Without much dialogue, there’s so much conviction to her performance, and it reminds you why she’s an Academy Award winner.
She’s not the only star in the bunch worth recognition though. Viola Davis and Vincent D’Onofrio as a married couple each have their own life to give to the film, and their performances were executed just as well. It’s only a shame that we couldn’t see Davis on the big screen more, because she steals every scene she’s in with her demanding authority.
But going back to Bullock, while she’s kicking rocks around each day it’s never a bore with her silence. The score that backs it all up moves you like a warm drifting stream of greatness. Composers Hans Zimmer and David Fleming are the perfect team to set the mood during these events. Their music is daunting, motivating, and inspiring mixed together in a wonderful masterpiece.
The story itself will most likely question someone’s moral code, and that’s perfectly fine. Everyone is rational with the way they feel to some degree. It’s beyond obvious that life isn’t fair and it’s no one’s fault what situation they’re born into. I just found myself not conflicted but able to sympathize with every character present in this film even though every single person had opposing views from their neighbor. What’s also fascinating is that every character in this film was right in their feelings and emotions. No one was wrong. Not a single person. So how do you resolve such a situation? That’s the main theme that makes this film so entertaining.
Once everything is revealed the only question is how will it all end. And what’s great is that the ending doesn’t disappoint in the least. It’s a mystery that continues to unfold and with each scene the film delivers an easter egg clue for you to put it all together at the end. This was great editing by far. The only complaint that rises is the age of the character Katie being twenty-five years old. At this age it doesn’t add up to why her surrounding peers are treating her the way they are. Even given the circumstances, more attention to this detail would’ve been greatly appreciated. It doesn’t ruin the film entirely, but it does stand out as a missed opportunity.
In the end, The Unforgivable is fantastic especially with the job done by Sandra Bullock. She’s usually a character that audience members love and can relate to but this time around you may be in for something a little different. She’s not a likeable character, but not a despised one either. Whether the film will appeal to you will all depend on your own experiences in life, and that makes this a challenging fun feature to take part in.