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4.8 out of 5 stars84
4.8 out of 5 stars
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UNFORGIVEN has been one of the best T.V. dramas that I have seen for a long time.
The story centers around Ruth Slater (Jones), a woman who is released from prison after seving 15 years for the murders of two policemen. Not only do you get to see Ruth slowly trying to adapt to life outside of a prison cell, you also get to see the stories of her younger sister Katie (renamed Lucy and adopted following the crime), the two sons of one of her victims and the couple who move into the house where the murders took place. Slowly, all of these characters come together in order to reach a dramatic climax.
Like other reviewers, I did guess a twist at the end, but this took nothing away from my enjoyment of UNFORGIVEN. Because the story is so well done, and the cast all put in brillinat performances, any hints at what happened all those years ago took nothing away from the themes of Ruth's story.
This is a brilliant drama dealing with many different issues - guilt, redemption, revenge and retribution to name a few. Highly recommended.
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on 1 November 2010
Thought-provoking writing. Method acting, maintaining viewers' interest right to the end. Excellent to near-perfection direction. Whoever scouted for location(s) ought be given a pat on the back for a job well done. In conclusion, keep up with the "recommendations" and we thank you.
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I started to watch this drama with some trepidation as I had found it difficult to forget that Suranne Jones played Karen in Coronation Street for some time (I thought she had been good in Coronation Street, but I just felt I was watching Karen afterwards). I soon forgot the actress however and became engrossed in the character she played in Unforgiven, with such skill that the character's vulnerability was palpable and believable. My partner was visibly moved by the depths that she brought to the character and we concurred that we do not believe anyone else could have brought more to the role than Suranne did.

I did guess the twist at the end, but that did not detract from the viewing experience. I strongly recommend viewing the DVD, even if only to watch the outstanding performance of Suranne Jones.
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on 20 November 2011
The acting is top class (bravo!), the story grabs you and makes you keep watching, but the star is surely the location. How they transformed the exterior of a dilapidated, neglected old farm house into a chic and classy modern dwelling is just miraculous.
I sent for this DVD after I caught the first, tantalising, episode on TV a few weeks ago, having completely missed the series first time round.
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on 11 January 2011
I'm not much of a talented reviewer but I just wanted to say that I was totally blown away by Suranne's acting. The storyline and way the film was made was superb but I do think it was the acting that left me feeling that what I had just watched was a very special piece of film/TV. The other top rated reviewers are totally acurate in this case, so I don't need to say any more, except that I totally recommend this DVD if you enjoy a great British drama with some added emotion and empathy with the characters.
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on 9 February 2009
For a good actor to attain greatness many things are needed not least of which is luck. Finding the right vehicle for their talents is difficult: there can be few roles around as meaty as that of Ruth Slater. All of the characters are brilliantly drawn by Sally Wainwright though the plot does have a few well documented holes and perhaps the most telegraphed plot twist of the year.

There would have been many actresses suited for this role and doubtless some with a better pedigree than Jones. I have read that the part was written with Suranne Jones in mind and if that is true then, it was an inspired choice. Her performance has such vulnerability and emotional pain that one could imagine many a tearful night away from the set as Jones struggled to contain the character. The scene where she first discusses her sister with her parole officer is played by Jones with such honesty and subtlety as to move even the hardest of hearts. The acting credits don't end with Suranne Jones either: Peter Davidson is excellent, as is Jemma Redgrave and indeed the whole cast. But it is specifically Jones that lays a marker for the rest of her career in a performance that says, no matter what the part, she can deliver.
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2009
I must confess to a parochial interest in ITV drama Unforgiven .It was shot in and around my home town of Halifax and the writer Sally Wainwright is not only from Sowerby Bridge where i currently reside but was in the same year as me at Secondary School though obviously she made better use of her time there.
I must confess her previous works ("Jane Hall [2006]", "At Home With The Braithwaites - Series 1-4 - Complete", "Playing The Field - Series 1 And 2 - Complete") have held little interest for me but Unforgiven , an adult drama concerning themes of redemption, guilt , revenge and family ties seemed more like my cup of tea. And so it proved for Unforgiven aired over three separate Monday 1 hour episodes turned out to be the most compelling British drama i have seen for some time .
Ruth Slater ( Suranne Jones) is released from prison after serving 15 years for the murder of two policemen gunned down when they came to help bailiffs evict her and her younger sister from their remote family farmhouse "Upper Hanging Stones Farm". Her sister, re-named Lucy Belcombe ( Emily Beecham) has now been adopted and is living in York. Ruth wants to contact her and is helped in this by lawyer John Ingram ( Peter Davison ) against the wishes of his wife Izzy (Siobhan Finneran) after he hears her tale and takes pity on her .They have bought the farmhouse where Ruth used to live and John's help offers her hope of redemption, something that is hard to come as she struggles to integrate back into a normal work and home life. This is not the worst she will face however.. The sons of one of the unfortunate policemen Steve Whelan ( Matthew McNulty ) and Kieran Whelan (Jack Deam) are in vengeful mood and on hearing that Ruth is out plot the best way to inflict it .
Despite the plot occasionally relying too much on coincidences and the gaping plot flaw that a murderer would never be released and housed back into the community where he/she had committed their crime Unforgiven seemed to me a realistic uncompromising work. The script crucially avoids sermonising and lets the viewer make their own mind up how they feel about Ruth. The eventual truth about that happened on the day of the shooting is never signposted but i guessed what had actually happened ...he harrumphed smugly .However it makes the resolution even more moving .
Where the series really triumphs though is in the performances. The whole cast are good but Suranne Jones as the troubled Ruth is a revelation. Her preoccupied visage , not an unattractive one it must be said, has stayed with me for days after each episode and her body hunched over like she is forever expecting some form of violent or verbal attack is a masterpiece of physical acting . Each mood passes palpably across her face seemingly in synch with the brooding changeable Pennine weather. Even her Yorkshire accent is spot on. Putting aside her roles in tripe like Harley Street [2008] in any right thinking world Suranne Jones would be festooned with awards for her portrayal of Ruth Slater. Without doubt the best acting i have seen from a female performer for yonks.....since Natalie Portman in "Closer [2004]" in fact
Unforgiven has a seemingly spurious sub-plot about the farm house being haunted . But you see it is haunted...by Ruth and by what happened there 15 years ago. Compelling well written , well acted adult drama's are a rarity , especially over here, but Unforgiven emphatically bucks the trend.
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on 18 November 2010
A wonderful TV drama that ticks all the boxes. Carefully worked out and a very difficult subject is aproached with a gentle touch that makes sense. All the performances are outstanding but Suranne Jones performance touched me greatly.
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on 31 August 2013
I liked the series because it gradually drew the viewer into the story. It does require some attention from the viewer as some parts of the story are only indirectly alluded to (i.e. through character conversation and implication). The first part starts off like a typical miniseries and establishes the interplay between the characters. The subsequent chapters build the suspense and the viewer can identify with the characters and the underlying themes of the story; namely those of redemption, personal acceptance and the ability to accept the vicissitudes of life. Everything climaxes in the third part with almost two parallel stories which leaves the viewer riveted as to how the drama would conclude.

All the cast delivered strong performances especially Suranne Jones who played the protagonist/villain, Ruth Slater, who attempts to rebuild her life after being released from prison. The realism of the performance can make one almost identify with her character and the hardships faced. There were also strong performances from Peter Davison, Douglas Hodge, and Jemma Redgrave. I felt the performance by Matthew McNulty as Steve Whelan, the crime victim with the tortured soul who treads down a dark path to seek the "justice" that is due to him. The tragedy of his character was perhaps the most convincing since it probes the conflict that all people face between doing right and wrong when confronted with adversity.

Although the characterization and the plot were very strong, my only criticism was I don't think the series was long enough as certain parts of the story in the middle could have been developed more especially as all the characters are somewhat intertwined with each other but they appear to be very separate in the series. Despite that, I would recommend the series to anyone who wants an intelligent modern drama that deals with how we view crime and punishment.
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on 12 March 2013
This three-part mini series is worth watching for the brilliant acting by Suranne Jones. She performs with such intensity that she draws you into fully believing that you can experience the world as seen by a woman leaving prison for the first time in 15 years. Her tone of voice, facial expressions and body carriage all bespeak the bitterness, the sadness, the desperation that must be the lot of a person in that situation. It is a mesmerising performance.

The quality of the other performances in the series is also high, with familiar faces such as Peter Davison, Jemma Redgrave and Douglas Hodge lending strong support. I particularly liked the way Siobhan Finneran (O'Brien in Downton Abbey) played in her role.

The taut script, by Sally Wainwright, deals thoughtfully with the issues it raises and, combined with the skills of director, David Evans, delivers genuine tension and a sense of dread in several crucial scenes.

I took a star off my rating for this show because of the predictability and / or implausibility of some of the plot developments, particularly in the third episode and also because the script made Jones' character a bit too easy and quick to sympathise with. However, I still heartily recommend "Unforgiven" as absorbing viewing. Suranne Jones' performance will stay in your mind.
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