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The Forgotten
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The Forgotten More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Neither nowt nor summat

3/10
Author: Neil Welch from United Kingdom
13 July 2007

This film badly needed to make up its mind what it was - an urban paranoia thriller, with Mrs Joe Public up against the combined might of the establishment machine, or an alien abduction sci-fi thriller. By greedily going for the have-your-cake-and-eat-it plan of trying it be both at once, it spectacularly failed to be either, and fell comprehensively between two stools.

The urban paranoia aspect, which was smouldering away quite nicely, had a bucket of water thrown over it as soon as the alien connection put in an appearance.

The sci-fi aspect - neat sequence where the lady detective was snatched into the sky - was never fully developed.

So many plot holes. So little explanation - and by gum, some explanation was needed (but not forthcoming) by the time it was over.

Disappointing drivel.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Plan 90 From Outer Space

5/10
Author: Critical Eye UK from Lake District, England
13 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There were moments early on in this when a score of 8 or more seemed possible -- unbelievably high, considering the box-office dross churned out nowadays.

But then, 'unbelievable' becomes the defining characteristic of the enterprise, and all the good work that's put into writing, acting, and direction vanishes into another of those swirling cloud-holes that seem to litter American skies.

Nonsensical narrative can, of course, always be forgiven when it's in the service of something greater, and 'The Forgotten' certainly has Grade A nonsense as its underlying premise -- the notion that aliens should wish to spend time and resource figuring out what is it that bonds parents to children and vice versa, a preoccupation about as arcane as it's possible to get considering that aliens very likely have other priorities to think about, like survival, world domination, world extinction, the rising price of gas etc.

Unfortunately for 'The Forgotten', however, there isn't anything else. Aliens as anthropologists is the theme, and once that's apparent then everything that follows is absurd (not least the fact that if, as an alien, you already 'control' the US Government and its security service to so great an extent, how come you don't 'control', or even harness, the talents of Earthbound scientists and anthropologists to do the field-work for you???) But no. Aliens kidnap kids in hugely and unnecessarily complex scenarios then spend an inordinate amount of time trying to cover up their actions. Yeah. Sure.

Yet 'The Forgotten' can't be forgotten so quickly: the lead performances are exceptionally good, the writing crisp and the direction sharp, fresh, and capable of well-nigh Hitchcockian surprises. What a pity then that inventiveness so quickly evaporates, and what could and should have been a superior sci-fi offering ultimately shows itself to be too intellectually lazy to face up to the challenges of its own narrative.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Ripoff of Dark City

3/10
Author: schunkevideoworks from United States
20 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let's say we play a game where I describe a movie plot and you guess what movie I am talking about. Here goes: This movie is a rather bizarre Sci-Fi flick in which aliens are performing experiments on humans, apparently to see what makes them tick. The humans, most of them anyway, don't know they are the guinea pigs. In the process of performing these experiments, the aliens must erase the human's memories.

However, there are a few rare humans who have memories that just can't be erased. In particular, our hero, the Main Character, will have nothing to do with it, much to the astonishment and consternation of the aliens. Oh, and there is this human Psychiatrist who has sold out to the aliens and is trying to get our hero to forget. In the end, the shrink turns out not to be such a bad guy, just a wimp.

Another major character is a local police person (notice how I am trying to avoid gender in these comments) who, though very skeptical at first, begins to smell a rat and tries to help out our hero. But, before the police person can help out much, he/she is sucked out into space (bummer).

Finally, our hero is victorious and the aliens stop tinkering with memories. In the last scene, our hero, who still remembers everything, strikes up a conversation with another main character (who remembers nothing) and they hit it off once again. Proving that deep down inside us there is a soul that remains constant, even if our memories are fleeting.

Those of you who are hardcore Sci-Fi buffs are jumping up and down yelling "Dark City, Dark City". The rest of you are saying: "No, No silly, you are talking about that movie that just came out on DVD called 'The Forgotten'". Of course, you are all correct.

Only difference is that Dark City got there first and is a much, much better film. If Alex Proyas will crank out a few more like Dark City I might even forgive him for I, Robot.

I know you are supposed to suspend disbelief for a Sci-Fi film, but The Forgotten asks way too much. Just as an example, these aliens are powerful and resourceful enough to alter memories and reach out from deep space and snatch people, even whole houses back into space in an instant with almost nobody ever noticing. But, when they need to disguise a child's room (cover up the drawings on the wall) the best they can do is loosely paste some crummy wallpaper over the drawings. (I wish I could get wallpaper down that easily.) A couple of coats of good interior latex would have worked much better.

All-in-all, I was very disappointed to say the least. In a few days, I won't remember it at all. My memory is fading, fading... "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do......."

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Shocking!

1/10
Author: christbasher from Eastern USA
17 January 2005

This is one of those movies that assumes all audiences are just complete morons, devoid of any kind of common sense and have IQ level of below 50 right from the start.

It's like a movie where the main character has amnesia, and throughout the whole movie he's trying to figure out who he is, and why he is being chased by thousands of secret polices from all over the world, but does not realize until the very end of the movie that all he has to do is look into his driver's license in his pocket.

The basis of this movie is that even the parents can't remember that their own kid ever existed because their memories have been wiped out selectively. But what about their relatives, the kids' friends from school, teachers, their neighbor, their friends, medical records, anyone from their neighborhood who might have seen them, and the kid's personal belongs? I mean is it possible to wipe out every memory associated with kids from anybody who ever interacted with him? There are so many other countless flaws that make no sense at all in this movie that it'll take days to list them all.

This is absolutely the worst movie of 2004.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Very silly experiment

2/10
Author: mariogomezg from Madrid, Spain
26 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

EVERYTHING ON THIS REVIEW IS A SPOILER:

Oh yes, you BELIEVE the bad comments! This movie has a horrid script, hands down. You know the premise: A mother loses her son and one day everyone begins to forget about the kid; pics, videos and everything disappears. Her psychiatrist tells her that she's nuts and must go to a mental institution. She escapes and is later arrested, but the NSA -no less- wants to take care of her, so you know there's SOMETHING ELSE. And what is that "else"? Aliens are abducting children to conduct experiments, and the government is collaborating with them, for the space guys are too powerful to oppose. Wanna know how powerful they are? Powerful enough to see and hear everything that happens at any time, anywhere on earth. They can also change newspapers and records, make all trace of any person disappear and create memories in people's minds. THAT is how powerful they are.

Yet with all their power, all the physical evidence we see of them is people getting vacuumed into the air. Wherever you are in the planet, they can suck you just like that. But, if aliens cand do all that, WHY the hell do they need to use the NSA, or any other earthly power for that matter? Isn't it plainly stupid to chase Julianne Moore the entire movie when they know all the time exactly where she is and they can vacuum her when they feel like it? Not that she and her fellow parent are very adept at hiding: Though they are constantly chased they never worry about changing their appearances a single time. She goes to her husband's workplace (which should be heavily guarded) in a completely careless way, and also goes to the other parent apartment after they become fugitives, though no cop shows (are they incompetent or what?). Speaking of the apartment, aliens can modificate newspapers, minds and whatever necessary, but can't erase a child's paintings from the walls. I guess that just takes too much power, so they just prefer to cover them, though they're easy to discover.

And what's the reason behind all? The EXPERIMENT. What's the experiment, you ask? The alien guy explains it: "We can measure a mother's love for his child (Oh yeah? HOW?), but we can't quite understand it. So we try and see if we can break the bond between them". And for what in the world? Remember, these aliens can see and hear it all, can abduct anyone in a second, we couldn't ever dream of challenge their power. So why would they ever care about breaking the mother-child bond? They do it out of boredom? And why is Julianne the only one who doesn't forget? Well, it's because... er... because she's very stubborn! No kidding, that's all the explanation we get! Every other parent in the world can be a lousy forgetful bastard, but not Julianne, she could never do that!

So that's the end of the experiment, the bond can't be broken, right? Wrong! The alien is getting nervous because if she doesn't forget, "the experiment will be a failure" Pardon me?! The point of an experiment is to OBSERVE results, not to provoke them! If you want to achieve concrete results, then it's a project, not an experiment! Can't the writer even tell this simple difference? Anyway, he erases Julianne's first memory from her baby, so that's it! But no, it's useless, she remembers again! So the alien guy is vacuumed as a punishment. Serves him right!

In the end the cold heartless aliens become suddenly benign and decide to give everyone's children back, just like that (in return for ruining their experiment?). The little ones don't remember a thing and go on happily with their lives (just ignore the fact that more than a year has passed in the rest of the world!). Even more, no one remembers anything at all, just Julianne (she's stubborn!) But who cares about the terrible truth she's discovered, she's got her son back after all (would they also return the photo albums?), smile and enjoy!

And that's about it. Now you judge if you want to pay to see THIS.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Half good, half bad

1/10
Author: Jelco de Jong from Netherlands
1 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Many credits for the first half hour; very good. Then another half hour you're thinking, please, please don't let it be aliens. And then...

in the beginning, the story that you know from the trailer is laid out very rapidly; the kid is no longer on the pictures and she's the only that seems to think he ever lived. That start is very good, therefore the trailer got to me and i saw the movie. however, what they do not hint at (recognise it in hindsight though) is that it is very alien-related. Only two or three scary shots though. the idea starts with the cloud in the sky and then builds. Never spoken about in the movie, you can't get around it; aliens. it would have been a lot better if they had used the initial idea (you kid is no longer there and you are the only one who knows he ever lived) and made into an FBI or NSA experiment instead of an alien one. Awful, awful ending completes the picture.

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15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Cool 'X Files' style movie

7/10
Author: mjw2305 from England
5 January 2007

Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is tormented by the memory of her 8 year old son after he died in a plane crash. Her therapist (Gary Sinise) is convinced that she is delusional and inventing these memories, but she is on a mission to find evidence that he did.

Julianne Moore is typically convincing in the role, and she sells the frustration of her situation really well. The story is very intriguing and incorporates some seamless visuals that are used sparingly and too dramatic effect.

Unfortunately the ending is little bit too Hollywood for me, but there is salvation in the alternate DVD ending, it's not perfect but certainly better.

6/10 - 7/10 with the alternate ending

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The first time I've regretted the director's cut

4/10
Author: noogieVS from Victoria BC
30 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Generally I prefer to see the director's cut of anything. I mean it's their show, not the studio's. We watched it thru then went back to see if the theatrical had a more connected ending. No such luck.

What I don't understand was how this got past a test audience of any one other than mothers. The premise of the crazy mom who has lost a non-existent son was slow to build, and thrown out way before you could really attach yourself to her. OK, so now it's not crazy mom, but elaborate gov't cover up complete with convert sidekick and omnipotent NSA agents. Then when we are starting to chase that line, it's got aliens and all the quick SFX that we can squeeze out of this turnip.

This is where the last wheel falls off. Theatrical ending (think Sigorney Aliens) "I HAD A SON AND HIS NAME IS SAM!!!", confrontation with Alien, who reveals he's on the hook for his test, which he gets pink slipped for...

or

Alternate ending (think i dunno, some thing like warm milk and stale cookies) "I ...had...a...son... " etc etc. explanation by Alien, who reveals that this test is over and...

out of the goodness of their alien hearts give back the kids, the parents, the memories, and probably any thing else they have used in 14 months so that she can get back to her life and be the only one any the wiser.

What bugs me, that any one of the three stories could have played out but never was given a chance. Even the two versions of the ending could easily have been joined and made a stronger finish as it was.

Julianne Moore was at her best when we all thought she was delusional, but as this driver-less carriage wandered from concept to concept, she just got weaker. Gary Sinise was great, we knew he was in on it but wished they built him up more so when his smoke and mirrors were gone it would have impacted Julianne's character better.

Sorry, but it felt like a film directed by a civil servant committee guided by tax lawyers.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The exact opposite of "The Village" and just as bad.

1/10
Author: (jeh_19762002) from Rochester, NY
24 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Contains Spoiler We received free tickets to see this movie before the opening and I must say I've never wanted to reclaim 2.5 hours of my life more badly. Mel Gibson's line "Give me back my son!" in Ransom is echoed over and over again. That chant, combined with hand held jittery camera pans and a complete lack of plot led me to shut my eyes more often than not- all to prevent both motion sickness and physical sickness (due to the fact I was stuck in the middle of a packed theatre).

Plot Spoilers: Kid dies in plane crash. Mom sees therapist. Therapist tells mom she's crazy. Mom starts imagining things. NSA shows up. Mom meets drunk dad. Drunk 'remembers' lost kid. More nauseating street scenes. Mom is hit by SUV but walks away fine. (commercial, best scene 1). Hide in some bushes and escape. Figure it all out, watch some people escape, Mom is the last survivor and 'gets' her son back.

Skip this movie.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

So many good ingredients, it's a pity the film isn't better...

6/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
7 May 2010

Screenwriter Gerald Di Pego comes up with an interesting new slant on a well-trodden movie idea: grieving woman is obsessed with the child she lost to a plane crash, and refuses to accept it when her husband, neighbor, and psychiatrist all tell her he never existed. Conspiracy thriller with science-fiction overtures steps a little bit into "Close Encounters" territory, but manages to hold the viewer with strong individual scenes and a lovely, matter-of-fact lead performance by Julianne Moore. However, the editing goes slack by the film's midsection, with Moore constantly on the run and Di Pego's script scrambling to explain itself whilst keeping the audience in suspense. It's a gambit which doesn't quite pay off. Supporting characters played by Anthony Edwards and Alfre Woodard are unceremoniously shafted, while the tepid final act (more running) leaves a bushel of unanswered questions and unrealized ideas behind. The chilly cinematography (grayish blues and whites) is artsy and distracting, and the overall result smacks of too many cooks. **1/2 from ****

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