A family of crooks
A suspenseful and moving thriller, The Forger switches seamlessly from bracing violence and criminal hijinks to scenes of painstaking familial reparations.
It is also a showcase for the singular talents of John Travolta, who turns in an affecting performance as a man who has spent his life applying his artistic gifts in all the wrong ways.
Learning that his teenage son Will (Tye Sheridan) has been diagnosed with cancer, Ray Cutter (John Travolta) manages to get out of prison nine months ahead of schedule to rejoin the household where Ray’s spry, ornery dad, Joseph (Christopher Plummer), has been caring for Will in Ray’s absence.
The hitch is that, while Ray wants to go straight, the shady character who made Ray’s early release possible expects him to pull off a heist as payment.
The job involves snatching Monet’s Woman with Parasol from the museum where it’s on display and replacing it with a replica so perfect that no one will notice. An experienced thief and a world-class art forger, Ray is the only man for the job, and in any case he has no choice. But can he perform this high-stakes robbery while also trying to fulfill his dying son’s wishes?
With a dynamite supporting cast that includes Abigail Spencer as the undercover agent tracking Ray’s every move, Anson Mount as the local drug kingpin who puts the pressure on Ray, Marcus Thomas as Ray’s best friend and cohort, Travis Aaron Wade as the local cop who assists the investigation, and Jennifer Ehle as Ray’s ex-wife and Will’s estranged mother, The Forger boasts both compelling characters and inventive set pieces.
At the core of the film are the father-son relationships across the three generations, and the chemistry between Travolta and Sheridan makes for heart-rending scenes. Ray cannot forestall the tragedy soon to visit, but he can work magic with brushes, brains, and fists to ensure that what time the Cutter family has left together is spent making a dream come true.
It is directed by Emmy and BAFTA award-winning director Philip Martin, whose credits since include the last Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren, piloting the BBC’s international hit Wallander with Kenneth Branagh, the BAFTA award-winning political drama MO with Julie Walters for Channel 4, Working Title’s production of Sebastian Faulks’ WWI epic Birdsong, and the acclaimed crowd-sourced documentary feature Japan In A Day for Scott Free Films.
The screenwriter is Richard D’Ovidio, who has been a working screenwriter in Hollywood for the last fifteen years. He has written screenplays for all the major studios and worked with such directors and producers as Paul Verhoeven, Tony Scott, Andrzej Bartkowiak, Joel Silver, Mark Gordon and Sam Raimi. His also wrote the screenplays for The Call, Exit Wounds and Thirteen Ghosts.