The Forger - John Travolta Heist Movie Doesn't Work

Matthew Parkinson | 26 Apr 2015 12:00
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Directed by Philip Martin. Produced by Rob Carliner, Al Corley, Eugene Musso, and Bart Rosenblatt. Written by Richard D'Ovidio. Release date: April 24, 2015.

There are two competing stories in The Forger, a "crime thriller" - as the internet puts it - that contains a little bit of crime but absolutely no thrills. The first of these stories sees Raymond J. Cutter (John Travolta) get out of prison a few months early in order to be with his son, Will (Tye Sheridan), who has pretty terrible cancer. The second story sees Raymond have to plan and pull off a heist of a painting in order to pay back the person who allowed for his sentence to run out early.

So, on one hand we have this father and his son, bonding for what may be the first time in ages, and on the other, we've got a heist movie. Together, they should deliver both the emotional payoff and the thrills that come from taking things that do not belong to you and are guarded by people with guns. But what sounds like it may be successful on paper often doesn't work out in reality, and Philip Martin's The Forger is a strong example of that. Instead of complimenting one another, the stories compete for screen time and both turn out to be shallow, incomplete versions of a whole. Neither of the desired effects is achieved. Any attempt at an emotional undercurrent is ruined by a lack of depth and the heist is as bland and uninteresting as it can be.

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This isn't even all that there is to the film, though. Raymond sometimes has to be a tough guy - one who has a drug addict of an ex, for some reason. There's also an FBI agent (Abigail Spencer), who tracks Raymond for the film's duration because ... she does. Despite the numerous crimes and probation violations he accrues, she only attempts to arrest him once. She exists to allow the film to wrap up cleanly, and to kill time in the interim.

A lot of The Forger feels like that, actually. Points that should only take a short period of time to get across are dwelled upon for far longer than they should, and since the characters are so bland, all of their sitting around and talking doesn't lead to any depth or development, making these scenes feel like a waste of time. The Forger runs for just over 90 minutes but plays significantly longer than that. I checked the time far more frequently during this than for significantly longer films. It doesn't even begin to capture your attention, let alone your emotions.

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