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craigdunc

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40 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
Massive Spoilers, 10 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie deserves a little defending. It's not a classic, but I can't believe how many people are not looking at what we are presented with. I'm afraid I make no attempt to avoid spoilers, so be warned.

In the first 20 minutes of the movie we are set up with an interesting story of a woman who is paramnesic, who creates her own memories from fantasies. But as she gets better, she is losing those false memories, and to her it feels as if she is forgetting, or as if someone is stealing away her memories.

It is not spelled out completely, but we know she's wrong a lot. She thinks she remembers parking her car where it isn't, she thinks she remembers putting a pen in her bag that isn't there. Reality is clearly a problem. And then she's confronted with what her condition is, and faced with institutionalisation because she can't come to terms with it.

Thereafter she has a complete break with reality, and she enters into a complete fantasy world involving 'Ash' who correlates her story, 'Ash Correl', a chimera called 'Sheemer', her quest after thin air and a company called 'Quest Air', all created in the style of the X-files, parroting TV. Our heroine's name is Telly Parrota.

We are warned against how the condition works - when Telly remembers, she adds to the memories, they get longer, more detailed. And this is what drives forward the plot as she enters deeper into her fantasy.

Every time she dreams, she re-remembers the last time she saw her son, and the sequence gets longer. She adds new clues that propel her on her journey. She wakes up in a panic and running. It all comes from her dreams.

Like the Matrix series, this movie doesn't explain itself. Like those movies, the character names, costume colours and visual symbols are clues to what's going on. In The Forgotten, we see circles over-obviously placed on screen to indicate (perhaps) the circular trap of her mind, certainly the circles the plot is going in. If you see a big circle on the screen, expect another turn in her psychosis.

Not convinced? The 'aliens' have no spaceships or technology, rather it seems they operate out of the moon, which sucks people out of your life like a scary hand of god - the very feeling of her recovery snatching away 'memories', snatching away her family and friends. You are aware of the aliens because of chattering whispering voices.

The movie underlines how this modern mythology of paranoid conspiracy theories and alien abductions has strong psychological side.

Her psychiatrist enters back into things and plays along, 'cooperating' with the aliens. At last she meets the alien, actually a hypnotherapy's, who offers her her last chance to come back and lead a normal life in the real world. In a very suggestible state, he helps her erase that first false memory, upon which everything was built, the memory of the birth of her son, actually miscarried. But the emotional connection to her fantasy world is too strong. Even if her son was never born, never existed as that little boy, the life was in her, she affirms. Her emotional attachment is too strong for logic to make any inroads - the doctors give up, and she is left in the happiness of her psychosis, a tragedy of a kind. But would she be happier in the real world?