Release Date: December 8th, 2006 (Quad Cinema) by California Newsreel.
The Cast: Arnold Vosloo, Zane Meas, Denise Newman, Quanita Adams, Christo Davids, Elton Landrew, Lionel Newton, Hugh Masebenza, Jeremy Crutchley.
Directed by Ian Gabriel.
In English and Afrikaan with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: In a South African fishing village, Tertius (Vosloo) asks forgiveness from the mother (Newman) and father (Meas) of the young man he murdered 10 years ago.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Forgiveness has some suspense as Tertius, an ex-cop, visits the parents of a young man he once killed for reasons which become clear later on in the second act. Tertius’ confrontation with the parents increases tensions and, soon enough, their daughter, Sannie (Adams), sends assassins to kill him in revenge. While they wait for the assassins’ arrival, Sannie and her brother (Davids) make sure to keep Tertius at their home without letting him figure out their secret plan. Much of the second act includes Tertius explaining to the parents the circumstances surround their son’s death, some of which is shown in flashbacks. He also describes, upon request, the details of how their son died. It would have been helpful to see more scenes with their son alive to feel the family’s pain whenever they cry—which is quite frequently. Screenwriter Greg Latter does an excellent job of making Tertius into a complex character with both good and bad qualities, but the stilted script doesn’t allow for Tertius to truly come to life or any of the other characters as well. Also, Arnold Vosloo’s underacts in crucial scenes which should have been more powerful. Too much melodrama in the latter part of the second act feels a bit contrived. Director Ian Gabriel, using a digital camera, does skill with some interesting camera angles—the transitions between scenes, on the other hand, feel awkward and the washed-out colors make the scenes seem bland. Ultimately, Forgiveness could have been much more engaging with a more organic script with less melodrama.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The quotation from Archbishop Desmond Tutu best summarizes the film’s overarching message: Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Having looked the beast of the past in the eyes, having asked and received forgiveness…let us shut the door of the past – not to forget it – but to allow it not to imprison us.” This profound, universal message requires one to make peace with others in order to find peace within yourself—otherwise it can cause more emotional/psychological damage. Inevitably, it’s an upward battle for victims and/or their beloved ones to confront a painful part of their past. But once they use all their inner strength and emotions to confront it and forgive while still acknowledging it, they will feel liberated and, therefore, able to move on with their lives in tranquility.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally stilted and melodramatic.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Occasionally stilted and melodramatic, but with a suspenseful plot and a profound message about forgiving without forgetting.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
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