The Forgotten (2004) / Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence and language
Running Time: 96 min.
Cast: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Anthony Edwards, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache, Christopher Kovaleski
Director: Joseph Ruben
Screenplay: Gerald Di Pego
Review published October 1, 2004
NOTE: The following review is, to the best of my ability, spoiler-free.
Too ridiculous to hold up to the end, The Forgotten manages to entertain most of the way, until the bottom drops out completely with a mostly nonsensical and overreaching finale that just can't match the solid build-up. Actually, the build-up is little more than competent, but Julianne Moore's performance elevates the entire production, as we feel for the plight of a mother in need of finding the truth about what happened to her son, if indeed she ever had one.
The plot revolves around Telly (Moore, Boogie Nights), a mother who has spent the last 14 months dealing with the loss of her son, for which she has been seeking psychiatric help. The real problem isn't her grieving, but the fact that she is the only one who seems to acknowledge she ever had a son. Soon, even the mementos of her son disappear, and she is on the verge of being put away, but she is determined in her belief, and she finds herself on the run, on her own in the world, looking to get to the bottom of her son's departure, and the reason why no one seems to believe her.
Let's face facts here. The Forgotten is a fairly bad idea for a film, only made better by two very strong factors: Julianne Moore's gut-wrenching portrayal and the solid score by James Horner (Aliens, Apollo 13), who gives every scene the right sense of foreboding required to achieve edge-of-your-seat chills. Screenwriter George Di Pego has done some decent work in crafting psychological dramas in the past, most notable in Phenomenon and Instinct, but The Forgotten is just a little too ambitious, as so many little twists and revelations occur that leave no where to go with the material except into the Twilight Zone.
The Forgotten is a decent flick with a hard to fathom plot, so it's the kind of thing that's only good for a diversion, but definitely nothing worth shelling out hard-earned money for. It is often silly, but it's never boring, as the storyline does manage to engage despite the fact that it can't support the weight of its heavy ideas. Director Joseph Ruben (Dreamscape, Sleeping with the Enemy) keeps the action moving just fast enough for you not to dwell on the gaping plot holes and weird motivations of the characters, but you'll have a hangover afterward trying to resolve them all into something tangibly logical. Worth a look by Moore's biggest fans, as well as lovers of paranoid thrillers, but anyone looking for something above b-movie thrills should look elsewhere.
©2004 Vince Leo