The Forgiven (film)

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The Forgiven
The Forgiven (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Roland Joffé
Produced by
  • Tannaz Anisi
  • Kim Ashton
  • Craig Baumgarten
  • Zaheer Bhyat
  • Lee Broda
  • Alastair Burlingham
  • Maxime Cottray
  • Babak Eftekhari
  • Wayne Marc Godfrey
  • Roland Joffé
  • Frederich Fiela Jonck
  • Robert Jones
  • Christos Michaels
  • Jeff Rice
  • Teri-Lin Robertson
  • Greg Schenz
  • John R. Sherman
  • Michael Tadross Jr.
Screenplay by
  • Roland Joffé
  • Michael Ashton
Music by Zethu Mashika
Cinematography William Wages
Edited by Megan Gill
  • Light and Dark Films
  • Jeff Rice Films
  • LB Entertainment
Distributed by Saban Films (USA)
Release date
Running time
115 minutes
Country South Africa
Language English
Box office $39,177[1]

The Forgiven is a 2017 British drama film directed by Roland Joffé and based on the play The Archbishop and the Antichrist by Michael Ashton, that tells a story involving Archbishop Desmond Tutu's search for answers during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and his meetings with the fictional character Piet Blomfeld.


After the end of apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is running the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and visits Cape Town's Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison to meet with Piet Blomfeld, an ex-security police officer and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging member, to assess his candidacy for amnesty. Blomfeld is a potential witness to murders committed during the time of Apartheid, particularly the murder of the teenage daughter of Mrs Morobe, who begs the Archbishop to find answers about her missing daughter. Blomfeld shows no regret and no willingness to speak, instead using his time during the meetings to berate the Archbishop with insults.

An attempt on his life by another prisoner causes Blomfeld to consider confessing, but some of the other men involved in the murder are working at Pollsmoor and do not want the information to be revealed. Blomfeld is beaten to death by prison officers. However, he has sent an audio recording, confessing to the murder of Mrs Morobe's daughter and her boyfriend, which is played to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


  • Forest Whitaker as Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Eric Bana as Piet Blomfeld
  • Jeff Gum as Francois Schmidt
  • Morné Visser as Hansi Coetzee
  • Thandi Makhubele as Mrs. Morobe
  • Terry Norton as Lavinia
  • Osbert Solomons as Mogomat
  • Rob Gough as Howard Varney
  • Debbie Sherman as Linda Coetzee
  • Warrick Grier as Kruger
  • Nandiphile Mbeshu as Benjamin
  • David Butler as Governor
  • Dominika Jablonska as Forensic Clerk
  • Shane John Kruger as DTF Officer
  • Michael MacKenzie as Young Warder
  • Vuyolwethu Adams as Idukew
  • Joe Nabe as Judge Draad
  • Alexander Wallace as Young Piet Blomfeld
  • Robert Hobbs as Burly


On 2 November 2015, it was announced that Forest Whitaker and Vince Vaughn would star as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the fictional[2] character Piet Blomfield, respectively, in the film adaptation of Michael Ashton's play The Archbishop and the Antichrist, to be directed by Roland Joffé.[3] Joffé also co-wrote the script with Ashton, which would be produced by Craig Baumgarten.[3] On 27 October 2016, Eric Bana joined the film to play the brutal murderer Blomfeld, replacing Vaughn. The film was retitled The Forgiven and would be produced by Joffé with Baumgarten through Link Entertainment and Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat through Light and Dark Films.[4]


The film premiered at the London Film Festival on 13 October 2017. It was also shown as the closing film at the Pan African Film Festival on 19 February 2018[5] and was shown at the Belgrade Film Festival on 28 February 2018 before being released in the United States on 9 March 2018.


Box office

The Forgiven grossed $39,177 in territories outside North America,[1] sales of its DVD/Blu-ray releases have cashed $54,156.[6]

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55% based on 22 reviews and an average rating of 6.2/10.[7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 41 out of 100 based on 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8] Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the 'sluggishly paced film's disparate parts never come together as a compelling whole.'[9] Glenn Kenny of The New York Times wrote that the film by Roland Joffé, who is 'not known for a light touch', 'is heavy-handed from its early texts explaining apartheid through its end credits' but praised the performances of Forest Whitaker and Eric Bana.[10]


  1. ^ a b "The Forgiven". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Being "Forgiven": An Interview with Playwright/Screen Writer Michael Ashton". 12 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b Geier, Thom (2 November 2015). "Vince Vaughn, Forest Whitaker to Star in Desmond Tutu Movie 'The Archbishop and the Antichrist'". TheWrap. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  4. ^ Hipes, Mike Fleming Jr,Patrick (27 October 2016). "Eric Bana To Star Opposite Forest Whitaker In Desmond Tutu Pic 'The Forgiven'". Deadline. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  5. ^ Kelley, Sonaiya. "The Pan African Film Festival aims to correct misconceptions about African and Caribbean countries".
  6. ^ "The Forgiven (2018)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  7. ^ "The Forgiven (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  8. ^ "The Forgiven Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Gary. "Forest Whitaker stars as Desmond Tutu in slack political drama 'The Forgiven'".
  10. ^ Kenny, Glenn (8 March 2018). "Review: In 'The Forgiven,' Forest Whitaker as Archbishop Desmond Tutu" – via

External links

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