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I bought this on DVD, the participation of Julianne Moore & Gary Sinise
led me to believe this may be a good film. I was however a little
This is not a bad film, certainly the first half is interesting as you are not sure where the film is going. Julianne Moore is excellent, however the same cannot be said for the rest of the cast. Dominic West is bland, Gary Sinise sleepwalks through his role and the rest of the cast are adequate but do not add anything to the film. The second part of the movie is a major letdown with the requisite chases and government agents after them etc. This is not dull but has been done so many times before (see the Arrival with Charlie Sheen & Teri Polo). The alternate ending does improve the film slightly but after watching this film I just felt that I had not watched anything that was above average. If it were not for the presence of Julianne Moore this may have gone straight to video.
I had seen a preview of this movie and it looked very fast paced,
intense, and interesting. After watching this movie in DVD i was sorry
to find out the preview had given away all the the most interesting
points to the movie and had even shown the best scene in it. There are
really only two scenes in the entire movie that really stand out and
one of them is shown in the preview.
The movie is definitely average and you'll find yourself getting pretty bored. The story does come together at the end but the ending leaves you with a feeling of "that's it?...".
The most annoying part for me was the horrible acting from the kid. They showed flash back after flash back after flash back of the little brat and his horrible acting was amplified.
"The Forgotten" really draws you in with a compelling set-up: how does this woman have such vivid memories of her son if no one else does, and if there's no other evidence he ever existed? The strong performances by Julianne Moore et al. only enhance your involvement in the story. However, a movie like this is only as good as its ending. You get no points for setting up an intriguing mystery if the mystery's resolution makes the audience groan. And that's the case here. "The Forgotten"'s ending is at the same time inevitable and surprising -- inevitable in that the movie drops hints throughout about what might be happening to this woman, and surprising that they would actually follow through with something so ridiculous.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie starts out an interesting dramatic mystery and plows along to become a typical Sci-Fi yarn with a 'Hollywood happy ending'. Telly Paretta(Julianne Moore)is plagued by the memories of her eight-year-old son Sam, who died in a plane crash over a year ago. Her marriage is a shambles with her husband Jim(Anthony Edwards)estranged. Telly's psychiatrist, Dr. Munce(Gary Senise), tries to convince her that her memories are intense delusions. She finds Ash Correll(Dominic West)in the park and he too begins remembering the loss of his daughter in the same plane crash as Sam. The two find themselves running from agents of the NSA. All seems to be unreal...but is it? Supporting cast includes: Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache, Robert Wisdom and Jessica Hecht.
The first 20 minutes of the film held such great premise, and from the
summary given on the back of the DVD case, I thought I was in for a
psychological drama/thriller of reasonable depth. I was definitely not
expecting the film to descend into the realms of sci-fi obscurity, to
the point where the film was far removed from comfortable reality, and
it became difficult to relate to.
I tried hard to enjoy the film, but after expecting so much, I was bitterly disappointed.
To all those who are planning on watching this film: don't expect as much as I did. I found this to be a fairly mundane, average sci-fi thriller. But of course, that could be exactly what you're looking for.
Moore and West are very strong in this movie, and very convincing, but
it's Moore that totally steals the scenes as she does in just about
every movie she's in. She's so natural and engaging, not only
beautiful, and that what makes her acting so believable and pulls you
right into her character. West is also very good, but he's not as
Sinise is good too, but the difficulty is that he always seems to play his characters very similarly, however he does fit here. I'm surprised that Edwards managed to so easily pull off his role, I expected that I'd just be staring at him and thinking of that character I always saw and loved in ER, but no, he totally pulls it off. Finally, there has to be a mention to Roache who plays his friendly man character chillingly to perfection.
Now, that's the easy stuff out of the way. Let's get to the movie itself, and until the NSA arrives you'll be enjoying the movie, pulled into the thick of it and as confused and paranoid as all the characters you're watching. Up until this point it's a pretty good thriller, with good camera work, lighting and direction, from here on it's a hurried mess.
For no reason the film races from the NSA to the next premise, there's no explanation and a huge leap, in fact the NSA aren't really on screen long enough to intrigue you. No sooner have they arrived than their threat is replaced with something else, and you can't help but look back on that and think that there should have been more time building that paranoia only to replace it with the next level.
Not only that but it seems so hard for the characters to believe that the NSA are involved, but believing that there's a level of conspiracy higher than them is taken at complete face value with no truth whatsoever. This just doesn't seem right for any character, never mind these ones which we've just been shown are sceptical and unsure.
This is a running theme throughout the latter half of the movie actually, in that many of the surprises and twists fall flat as there's no real build up of suspense or contradictory feelings. Events just kind of appear and characters accept them and deal with them. You almost feel like you're watching a played out story already as the tension is gone.
There's another major flaw, and I don't believe I'm giving anything away here because it's no surprise. From the outset you, the audience, side with the main character Paretta. You're made to feel for her and to understand her pain, and this is a great connection but the effect for the rest of the movie is that you believe her, you trust in her, at no point do you think she's crazy. This goes against what the movie tries to do, it tries to make you believe that she may be mad, and she may be losing it, but there's just no way you can believe that as the performance that Moore brings is that of an utterly devastated Mother who is clinging onto something that is actually tangible, and the movie continually backs her up, this contradicts what it tries to do to the audience.
Add to that little mistakes that are crucial story points but just seem idiotic when you think about them. For instance there are memories being erased, photos being wiped, videos cleared, and yet there's the need to physically re-paper the walls in a room...what happened to all that technological magic to make the paper disappear like everything else? Sorry, that just doesn't wash and smacks you in the face to get you out of the movie.
However, visually the movie is excellent, the overhead shots to give the feeling of being watched and of isolation are superb, wherever the characters are the locations and lighting are really well carried out and provide for a superb looking movie. There's also the most amazing car crash scene you'll have seen, it's so realistic and this is one of the moments that actually defeats what I've said above. The suspense and surprise is built really well for this scene.
I was surprised at the Audio Commentary which features the and the director. Ruben mentions quite a few times that he's unsure what the audience want and what they feel from scenes. This struck me as surely being a problem, as the director would surely be building a scene to look and sound great, fit in with the rest of the picture, but also to manipulate the audience in some way and illicit an emotional reaction. Yet it sounds as the the director doesn't really know how to do this and continually questions the audience.
Combined with the comments made between the writer and director about some key expositional scenes makes me think that there was also a distinct lack of understanding between them, and perhaps more cooperation might have produced a better movie. At one point the writer talks about a great expositional scene and how he likes the way it makes the audience understand an aspect of the character, the director sounds surprised and says he wishes he had known that at the time, to which the writer responds "Yeah, maybe you'd have left some of it in". Joking or digging, I'm not sure but it certainly is telling. For these reasons it's a very interesting commentary track.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Personally I thought The Forgotten worked very well for its genre: a blend of both suspense thriller and sci-fi. (Let's keep in mind that this category appeals to only a select few.) No, it wasn't the best of that class; it had both its hokey (mother love again? ho-hum)and its derivative (Dark City) facets. Moreover, the extended alternate ending was far far better than the made-for-TV type theatrical ending that moviegoers saw. Such quibbles aside, The Forgotten is a well-crafted film with some very fine, carefully restrained special effects scenes (i.e., the unexpected car crash, also my personal favorite - what happens to NYPD officers who take too close a look at forbidden mysteries?) If you don't try to force it into the mold of pure thriller or pure science fiction you will probably find it quite enjoyable
What do you do when you come up with a cool premise for a movie and
can't come up with any credible way to implement it? You make a movie
like The Forgotten.
It starts off well enough, as a grieving mother discovers no one believes she had a son. That's swell, and when the movie is mysterious about what is going on it somewhat holds your interest. But the solution to the mystery seems absurd. This doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't have worked - a lot of movies has ridiculous stories told so well that you don't really mind - but the movie fails to make itself convincing, perhaps because it offers none of those tantalizing hints that make an explanation, when it comes, make you say, of course, it's so obvious. Instead the first time you hear it you think, oh no, is that really what this movie is about? But The Forgotten is as much a failure for what it lacks as for the dumb things it contains. The leads are bland and grimly serious and there is little life in any of it. The movie screams out for a counterpoint in an interesting minor character. The most obvious choice would be Alfre Woodard's cop, but she is almost devoid of personality, like everyone in the film. Obviously there is no rule in film making that you need quirky characters, or moments of quiet in which the lead characters say interesting, insightful things, but if you're going to make a movie with a really stupid story it's a good idea to balance that out with a little flair.
Basically watchable, if you're not in a demanding mood, but so bland that in a month I won't even remember why I didn't like this movie, or even that it exists.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forgotten is everything I was warned about. Intriguing until the awful
ending. Because of the Sixth Sense, its fun to look for another but
doubtful we will anytime soon. In the meantime we stretch our
imagination a bit more, forgive plot convenience, and lower our
expectations throughout the movie - but never the ending.
In a movie like Forgotten, it's not what but how and why. The movie lays out the premise quickly, very quickly. It lays out the acts: WHAT, HOW, then finally WHY. The simple plot sounds like a recycled X-Files episode: Government conspiracy surrounds child abductions by aliens.
But it's the ending we all talk about. The awful, awful, ending. It's the "Why! What were they thinking?" ending. It felt like an studio executive made a decision far into the movie to end the on an up-note without regard to continuity, story or plot. It felt like I *must* feel guilt if I disapproved the ending.
It was determined, the ending must be feminine and emotional. Those too male who disapprove should made to feel especially bad from expressing their opinion.
I don't think ulterior motive was to feel good. I think the motive is to make others feel bad if they didn't fall in line. Sort of like Telly.
For every person who truly needs a happy ending there is another who loses sleep because someone somewhere does not. The movie wasn't awful, just the studio edit ending. Many were swept out of reality. But I won't let go.
I defeat the happy ending with ... my humble opinion.
I cannot say I completely loathed this film. The mood and atmosphere of
the film was eerie and creepy, but nothing we haven't seen before.
Julianne Moore did an excellent job as the terrified, confused and
frightened mother, who has been told her son, who has been dead for 14
months, never existed. However, her abilities start to fall apart at
about the same time as the movie does.
This film begins to build a dynamic story very early on. Unfortunately, it gets lost in itself and crumbles towards the middle and especially by the end.
What probably started out as a decent alien abduction flick, turned sour and became another in a long line of Sixth Sense or The X-Files rip-offs. There was nothing that really jumped out and grabbed the audience by the throat and made them afraid for their own children. I think that really could have been the selling point of this film. The make people afraid to let their children out of their sight. I mean, the idea of this happening in real life would be the scariest part of all. This film was building up to that, but again, it crumbled way too fast.
Overall, the ending was different, but bland. Julianne Moore's character is able to overcome the odd experiment she is being forced through, because her love for her son is too strong. The alien realizes this, the experiment is over and she is the only one to remember anything. Interesting, but a trifle underdeveloped and almost seemingly tacked on.
Good try...but no dice!
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