Expectations can never run high when it comes to September films, a month where studios notoriously drop films that would never have succeeded in the summer. That being said, there was one film that popped onto the radar with an intriguing and exciting trailer, and that was The Forgotten.
The Forgotten stars Julianne Moore as a mother named Telly Paretta who lost her son in a plane crash 14 months earlier - or so she thought. In reality, her psychiatrist informs her that she never even had a son - she invented it all in her mind. She desperately struggles to grasp the truth, whatever it may be, and comes to believe that she is indeed sane and that there is another perso n(Dominic West) living nearby that is in the same situation as her. They go on the run from government agents, all the while facing something else that cannot be explained. If you think that I've given away too much of the story, think again - the previews do the exact same thing.
Yes, Problem Number One with The Forgotten is that everything in the trailer, no matter how good it was, happens exactly the same way in the actual movie. Sure, it's not misleading, but at the same time it hides very little of the story. Any big twists that screenwriter Gerald Di Pego may have intended there to be are lost due to the marketing campaign. The concept of this movie is great, but there is no suspense or excitement to draw the audience in. Sadly, The Forgotten is pretty predictable.
Problem Number Two is the execution of the movie. On top of the predictability of the plot, The Forgotten lacks much that is needed to get it over the hump of mediocrity. Director Joseph Ruben never pulls the audience into the intense situation that the characters are going through in any way or form. Adding further salt to the wound is the dialogue and acting, which is lackluster to say the least. Moore is a very good actress, but the script is so lousy at times that she never really gets to expand her range from the stereotypical distressed mother who we've seen in hundreds of films. In fact, her character is downright annoying at times as she fails to react to some of the biggest questions in the movie. Moore's character has learned that her son has been erased from everyone's memory, yet the only question she ever asks is, "What happened to my son?" People get pulled into the sky by an invisible hand, yet the only question she ever asks is, "What happened to my son?" A certain man appears to be invincible, yet she never asks how in hell it is possible.
Even worse is Problem Number Three. Whereas Moore's character never asks the important questions, the movie never answers them, either. It is okay for a film to leave a little bit of the plot hidden for people to discuss later, but The Forgotten explains nothing of pertinence. In fact, it ends rather happily for the characters, but terribly for the audience. As mentioned before, there is a man who seemingly cannot die and some kind of supernatural force that seems to be the underlying basis of the story, but the movie does not even attempt to answer anything. The climax is immensely disappointing and uninteresting - seemingly, there is a whole chunk of information that the screenwriter left in his head and never put on paper. Why did any of this happen? Who or what is responsible? How is the final scene possible?
None - and I mean none - of the movie is explained.
More than anything else, The Forgotten reminded me of a bad version of Dark City, that twisted and imaginative piece of work from a few years back. In concept, some of this movie is sort of similar, except that it isn't good.
It is cliché to say, but The Forgotten is very forgettable. It starts with an interesting premise, but there is nothing right about the movie. It lacks the depth and intrigue to work on any level.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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