Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Unforgivable: Sandra Bullock Surviving Brutal System - And Cop-out Story

                         Bullock Goes Full Mao In The Movie              
...In the US with its shameful history as the most mass incarcerated country in the world, just hand the Oscar to Bullock for her ex-con's defiant, devastating performance...

Though The Unforgivable may disappoint the mostly male movie critics out there for Sandra Bullock bypassing the usual flirty, sexually degrading roles women are subjected to on screen, her raw and real, stinging performance as a socially and emotionally battered ex-con resonates as a metaphorically take no prisoners performance. This, despite the fact that Bullock and Nora Fingscheidt, a director fiercely committed to her craft, seem to both be struggling against a metaphorically cop-out script that first challenges then cowardly concedes to the cruelty of the existing system.

Bullock commands the proceedings as Ruth, a Seattle woman just released from prison after twenty years behind bars for killing a cop. What led to the incident, was the eviction being staged against Ruth and her young sister Katy, who finding themselves without parents, can no longer pay for the expenses to keep the home. When the sheriff breaks down the door, he is blown away and Katy vanishes into the adoption system. 

And upon Ruth's release, she struggles as both an emotionally broken but fiercely determined woman, to locate her sister - while enduring post-incarceration life as a cop killer pariah just trying to endure and find work. And in remarkable scenes where the dead end brutality of working class existence, whether a slum hotel or fish factory, intertwine with her own. And in no small part signaling the skills of the director, gifted with a keen sense of Italian neo-realism and her own roots in the social realism of the GDR where she was born, in crafting this doomed landscape.

But where the script takes a cowardly detour, is in blinding the reality of the here and now - the mass evictions in a declining economic system, and Seattle as one of the western epicenters revolting against police brutality, poverty and political repression. And if the screenwriters had actually had the courage of conviction to be in tune to what's going down in the real world today rather than opting for the increasingly anachronistic family values Hollywood happy ending, Bullock going full Mao in The Unforgivable would have signified a far more complex dramatic mission than just reuniting a family.
Prairie Miller

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