Forsaken: Kiefer & Donald Sutherland
by Sherif Awad
I was always a fan of great actor Donald Sutherland and continuously was discovering many of his important roles as I was digging classic films. Donald co-starred in the 1960s classics like The Dirty Dozen which he followed in the 1970s by a group of landmark roles like in MASH, Kelly's Heroes, Klute, Don't Look Now, 1900, Fellini's Casanova, The Eagle Has Landed, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the best in this series, in my opinion), Ordinary People, Eye of the Needle ( a personal favorite) and the list still continues. Film followers also started to discover that Donald has a son called Kiefer Sutherland who is also a remarkable actor. Both father and son co-starred in Neil Simon's Max Dugan Returns (1983), which was also Kiefer's film debut but they never shared a scene. Later on, Kiefer started to draw a career on his own with Stand by Me, The Lost Boys, Young Guns I and II, Renegades, Flatliners, The Vanishing (a personal favorite of mine because Jeff Bridges also played beautifully a very nasty, complicated villain), Freeway (another remarkable performance by Kiefer as a villain in that modern twist on Red Riding Hood). Kiefer agian played the villain that we only recognize from his voice as a man on the phone line in the unconventional thriller Phone Booth that also launched the career of one Colin Farrell in 1992. Four years later, in 1996, again Donald and Kiefer Sutherland co-starred in A Time to Kill but yet again never shared a scene. With all these acting roles and film experiences along with four directorial efforts have all culminated in Kiefer's turn as Jack Bauer in the popular series 24. Until now, I see that series as one of its kind in injecting high adrenaline into the viewers all along its running seasons. Kiefer was perfect is playing the special agent Jack Bauer, bringing realistic strength and vulnerability to the character to the point that many series fans are still waiting for a feature film spinoff.
The new western Forsaken should have gotten more media attention since it reunites Donald and Kiefer Sutherland as father and son for the first time since 1983 and 1992. A similar reunion was also a dream of 24's fans but its makers decided to cast another great actor James Cromwell as Philip Bauer, Jack's father. The new film is also directed by Jon Cassar, the 24 frequent episode director, with supporting roles played by other 24-ers like Michael Wincott and Greg Ellis not to mention a supporting role by veteran actor Brian Cox and –surprise, surprise, Demi Moore.
Forsaken opens on John Henry (Kiefer Sutherland) while he is returning to his hometown in hopes of repairing his relationship with his estranged father (Donald Sutherland). However, James McCurdy (Brian Cox) is paying a gang to terrorize the small town to drive people to sell their lands. Henry, who swore to pacifism after the civil war, might become the only hope to set the score straight. Not only the film was a chance for Kiefer and Donald Sutherland to share powerful scenes but also to compete to bring the most of their two characters on the screen.
I was interested to see Forsaken for the reasons of my admiration for the Sutherlands' historical acting crafts as well as being part of the recent trials in reviving the westerns again (Tarantino's Hateful Eight). I think many readers will be tempted to check it out for similar excitement. Could westerns return and be revived like in the days of Dances with Wolves, Unforgiven and Open Range? I guess we should wait and see.