Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.
Robert De Niro
Set in a Tex-Mex border town, Not Forgotten is a classic psychological thriller about Jack and Amaya Bishop, a couple who must come to terms with their tortured pasts in order to save their kidnapped daughter. It is a tale taut with intrigue and steeped in Latino mysticism, where the line between what's real and what's imagined becomes hopelessly blurred. Written by
Isn't it funny how people get all religious when things go wrong? A vigil with candles and prayers was a nice idea. But what they didn't know, was that there really are some things that you can't ask the virgin for.
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Jack Bishop (Simon Baker, "Land of the Dead") is your typical American. A beautiful wife and daughter, nice home, coach of the soccer team. But things go horribly awry one day when his daughter Toby (young horror veteran Chloe Moretz) goes missing... has she been brought across the border to become a prostitute? Or is she the victim of a known sex offender? Jack will stop at nothing to find out, even if he must reveal his own secret past.
I had little familiarity with the people who made this film, beyond Chloe Moretz, who has been the girl in more or less ever horror film for five years -- and I'm not complaining. Paz Vega played a strong lead, although the rumor is she replaced Jordana Brewster, a friend of Killer Reviews. With all due respect to Brewster, I think Vega was the right casting choice -- she had the elegance, the versatility and the pluck to be the multi-faceted character she needed to be. Rounding out the notable cast is Claire Forlani ("Mallrats"), with a far too small role as the prostitute Katie.
Simon Baker, who was not known to be (I have not seen TV's "The Mentalist"), was a commanding lead in every sense of the word. A devoted father, mysterious possible suspect, heroic ex-thug. I felt he was a natural for every position he was put into. As the plot twists and turns (which is really another strength of this film -- I had to keep guessing) he is able to roll with it and make every thing believable.
Horror fans will enjoy this film, though it's not horror in any strict sense. It's a dark mystery thriller, with a cult, some epic violence -- one of the most brutal beatings I have ever seen on film -- and some creepy imagery. I was visually seduced. There's also some decent action and suspense... not too much romance (sorry, ladies) and a spattering of humor, but only just the bare minimum, keeping the film tense and taut.
I found the film to have an interesting social and political commentary, though I don't feel it was intentional. Over the last several years, there have been a few horror films with a Mexican flavor, such as "All Soul's Day" and "The Dead One". By and large, these were failures. "Not Forgotten" has a strong American/Mexican theme, with border crossings and international crime being a key undercurrent. How accurate these are, I do not know -- I live in Wisconsin where we see more Canadians than Mexicans. But the way the border was portrayed struck me as fascinating and believable, as well as timely in a culture where fear of immigrants comes to a head again and again. This film portrayed Mexicans as both heroes and as ruthless killers, not stereotyping them one way or another, and I found that to be very honest.
"Not Forgotten" is a straight-to-DVD release, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's less than great. Even with my sporadically short attention span (I often require friends and/or booze to get through a film in one sitting) I could not remove my eyes from this movie. A pure win from beginning to the amazing twist at the end. Could a prequel or sequel be in the works?
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