The Forgiven

Set in South Africa in the mid-1990s, this docudrama centers on Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forest Whitaker) as he leads the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in documenting racially motivated crimes under apartheid. One man’s disappearance leads Tutu to the man who killed him (Eric Bana), a white supremacist serving a life sentence at Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, and the archbishop decides to save his soul. This raises provocative questions about the nature of forgiveness, on both an intimate and a national scale, and offers an insightful look at South Africa’s prison system at a time of racial strife. Unfortunately the story’s emotional impact is limited by the overstated performances and the heavy-handed direction of Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields).