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"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 only spectacular thing about this movie is Julianne Moore's
stunning performance, the rest of the movie is just science fiction
I was at the point of becoming a human vegetable by the end of the film,
and if you ask me the plot is just so pathetic!
I'm not one for science fiction, but i can handle at least some movies of this genre that have good story lines,
but this was a waste of money, I'm talking about the $5.00 i payed to hire it and the production funding!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS HERE*** So... are you telling me that, having the power to
erase photo albums, suck people off the planet, cloud father's memories
and instantly heal bullet wounds, they lacked the technical
sophistication to re-decorate the little girl's room so that the
original walls were forever hidden? I hope their Interior Cover-up
Department was dealt with in the same way as the chap who asks "...for
more ti..." in the last part of the film.
Have you ever wondered what the bond between cock-roaches is? Have you then decided to initiate an experiment to test your theories, involving much time and effort? Or would you just reach for the spray and be done with it? Why would these aliens want to study us, when they clearly are so much more advanced then our species? We are so full of ourselves that we make movies (not just this one) insisting that near-omnipotent beings care about what happens here and how we interact. No doubt we are all stars on some cosmic Discovery Channel
Like everyone has said, this movie is great when it's a psychological thriller, but really crashes when it becomes the X-Files. The only thing memorable - really memorable - was the interstellar Hoover effect.
A grieving mother, Telly Paretta, is struggling to cope with the loss of her 9-year-old son. She is stunned when her psychiatrist and her husband tell her that she has created eight years of memories of a son she never had. But when she meets the father of one of her son's friend who is having the same experience, Telly embarks on a mission to prove her son's existence and her sanity. And the the goofiness starts! Chasing around in the dark..... 100's of scenes from high above....dark/gloomy... "Where's Mulder?" would be a better name! This one, with a decent plot and a good start, just goes on and on... could have wrapped this baby up in a half-hour TV show.... But it just goes on and on! And WHO could possibly sleep in a shady hotel room, with chips and booze, AND JULIANA MOORE!? AND NOTHING HAPPENS? Not with me, my friend!
The title offers the perfect opportunity to score some easy points; and
I must admit that I'm not the sort of guy to pass these kinds of things
up. So let's get it out of the way early - here goes: Hollywood has
obviously 'forgotten' how to execute a polished thriller; and Julianne
Moore must by now have 'forgotten' exactly why she chose this role. The
very word should clue an audience in that what follows will deal with
memories, or to be precise, certain characters lack of them. That being
the case, the makers might as well have settled on the ultimate
explanation that someone's drink has been spiked, I assure you that
this would raise as many questions, is as unspecific, and is as deeply
uninspired as the scenario that eventually plays itself out. To
underpin a thriller, one would ordinarily want an intricate puzzle, a
complex conspiracy web of intrigue and downright nefariousness. What we
actually get is a basic idea that the screenplay never bothers to delve
into fully, and seems like it was desperately thought up so everyone
concerned had a catch-all excuse for some decidedly 'loose' plotting.
For example, we learn that some individuals have a certain undertaking. We know then WHAT they are doing; but the question that is never really adequately addressed for my liking is any possible reason they could have for wanting to do it?? 'Because they can', is the dominant motive that appears to dictate the approach of the script. That's just not good enough though I'm afraid, when you have a 'revelation' that's so slow to arrive, in as short a film as this one is. A film that's particularly complex in nature might invite you to fill in the blanks yourself; but the routes travelled here are so linear and undistinguished that the bigger picture is why someone would bother going to the trouble in the first place.
What's also comical is the apparent determination to avoid directly confronting what the film obviously wants itself to be about. It's as if the crew said: "We can't openly acknowledge this theme, in a movie starring Julianne Moore!" Well, appear in it she does; and I say in complete earnestness that how she was lured into participating is perhaps the biggest mystery here. It's one that's still ripe for solving, too.
If you haven't seen the film; I'll leave you to guess the plot point I have come this far without managing to accidentally reveal. The depressing thing is, the average layperson's uninformed shot in the dark has a high probability of being correct; and why bother watching something you could have easily concocted yourself???
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.
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