By William Wolf


As caper movies go, this is a pretty good one, thanks mainly to its performances. “The Forger,” directed by Philip Martin from a screenplay by Richard D’Ovidio and showcased at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, is not to be confused with the recently released “Art and Craft,” a documentary about a famous art forger. Martin’s film, starring John Travolta, is set up as suspenseful thriller clearly in the caper genre.

What gives “The Forger” initial credibility is the reason why Travolta as Ray Cutter, a forger, thief and convict, gets involved in the basic scheme. His son Will, played by Tye Sheridan, is stricken with cancer and his dad urgently wants early release from prison to spend time with the lad. To accomplish this, he makes a devil’s bargain with a criminal who can pull strings to get him out of prison more quickly.

Cutter’s assignment is to paint a convincing replica of Monet’s “Woman with Parasol” that can be replaced for the original to be stolen from the museum where it is hung in a Boston museum. Travolta is in good acting form, and there is another appealing performance by a grizzled Christopher Plummer as Cutter’s colorful, wily father, who has a myriad of connections that will come prominently into play as the complicated plot details evolve. Another key role is played by Abigail Spencer as an undercover agent who is keeping tabs on the illicit doings. As required, “The Forger” is filled with assorted other character types.

Cutter’s challenge is to extricate himself in one piece and not be sent back to prison. As any caper fan knows, there will be twists and turns that one doesn’t want explained before seeing the movie. Truth be told, this is not one of the greatest of caper films, but it is a very human one that is intriguing to watch on its own terms. And it is a good showcase for its leading actors. Reviewed October 5, 2014


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