Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Vengeance is mine, sayeth The LordÖbut Frank has ideas of his own.
Is it good movie?
After an 18-year absence, Frank is back in town, ostensibly to put his life back together. This includes not swearing, not drinking, and getting back together with his high school sweetheart. But like any good love story, there are bumps in the road for the would-be couple: stuff like how Frank killed his father as a teen, and is now plotting theft from the armored car company he works for, and how he is going to set up the love of his life for his own murder. Tiny inconveniences like that. Oh, and what is up with the creepy preacher man who is always on the damn television? Sometimes he seems to be egging Frank on, but other times he gives more moderate advice. The climax ties up the loose ends satisfyingly enough, but leaves just enough ambiguity and questions to give the viewer something to chew on later.
Despite that last sentence, I canít really give this movie a thumbís up. I canít give it a thumbís down, either. More like a thumbís sideways. It is a competently shot movie, with plenty of fine acting, but somehow winds up straddling the line between ingenious and tedious. The plot is needlessly complex: in the end, the main motivation for the revenge is the fact that his ex-girlfriend aborted their love child back in the day, yet that is the thread given the least attention. Much more time is spent with Frank at work, and getting into the minutiae of hatching a plot Dumas would be proud of. We are dangled tantalizing bits of his psychosis, but once again, enough to whet our appetites but not enough to truly feed us.
Billy Burke is fine as Frank, in discrete moments, ranging from maniacal to coolly calculating, but there is no cohesion between these varied states. Sherry Stringfield, most memorable for her turn as Dr. Susan Lewis on ER, is also just as beautiful and competent as ever, even if she is used merely as a cipher, and given virtually nothing to do. But I need to take some time to mention the background players before I turn you loose to look at yet more titties on your internets thing. Wayne Knight is the only truly in depth performance on view, but Chris McKenna (King of the Ants), Robert Rusler (ANOES 2), and Gregory Itzin as the preacher all give some nice structure to the story when it tries to sag. You just canít have enough good character actors in your piece: directors take note.
Video / Audio
This is a screener, and no indication is given of any stats. This copy looks letterboxed to me, has much better audio than a lot of screeners I get.
Since this is a screener, there are no features. Just the trailer, which is decent enough, if you go in for those kinds of things.
Forfeit is a movie with some strong performances and some good ideas, but just canít seem to get out from under its own weight. It isnít great, but it doesnít suck, either. Which I am not sure is good territory for a movie of any genre (I can at least be entertaining when writing about an unabashedly terrible movie). Think of it as a fixed dog: it may know some tricks, and may cuddle you on cold nights, but it still has no balls. It will never exasperate you, will never elate you; it will never run out into the street, just missing that Hot Rod Lincoln barreling down the road, making your breath catch in your throat, and then making you sigh with shaking relief when everything turns out okay in the end (or, conversely, breaking your heart when it doesnít). Which suits some people just fine. So, you know, *shrug*