REVIEW: “The Unforgivable” is a gritty, gripping portrayal of a woman in crisis and an indictment of how we don’t give formerly incarcerated people a real chance to move on with their lives
When people are released from prison are they really released? After they’ve paid their debt to society, are they given a chance to move on or are they forever marked as someone who made a mistake?
Are they forever someone who must check a box indicating they’re a ‘felon’ whenever they apply for a job, thus preventing them from getting most jobs—which often pushes them to the edges of society and heightens the chance that they’ll go into crime and re-offend in order to get by? When you get out of prison do you remain unforgivable?
In most cases, yes, which is a tragic flaw of our society and our justice system because most people who are in prison will one day get out. The way America does things, we are sentencing former incarcerated people to not just to a term in prison but to an entire life of hell. This is not because we think that will reduce crime, it’s because the criminal justice system has a profit motive and people are the products it needs to make money. Once it’s captured you in it’s grip, it seeks to never let go.
THE UNFORGIVABLE. (L-R) SANDRA BULLOCK (PRODUCER) as RUTH SLATER, ROB MORGAN as VINCENT CROSS. (CR. COURTESY OF NETFLIX)
All of this represents some of the undercurrent of Sandra Bullock’s powerful new Netflix film, The Unforgivable, where Bullock stars as a woman who’s just been released after a long prison bid. She’s trying to put her life back together but it’s hard because no one will let her forget that she’s a felon. Society will not forgive. The movie co-stars two of the most extraordinary actors of this era—the incomparable Viola Davis and your favorite actor’s favorite actor Rob Morgan—and the film gives us some powerful scenes where Bullock goes toe to toe with each of them.
Surely, the movie lays it on a bit thick—Bullock’s Ruth Slater is convicted of murdering a police officer but not just any officer, it’s an older chief who knows her personally and is trying to be nice to her during a very difficult situation. Slater is in the process of being evicted from her home and the chief is trying to be diplomatic and lighten the blow—he gently offers to let Slater and her young daughter come stay with him in his …….