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The Forgotten (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:Director and writer commentary. Deleted scenes. 2 makings of.

THE Forgotten is a difficult film to review given that it works best for viewers who haven't got a clue what is going on.

Part emotional character study and part supernatural mystery, the film relies on a twist half-way through that will either make or break it depending on how you view it.

Julianne Moore stars as Telly Paretta, a mother still trying to come to terms with the loss of her son in a plane crash 14 months earlier.

As we get to know her, she has the sympathy of her husband (Anthony Edwards) and is being helped by a psychologist (Gary Sinise), but quickly finds her world torn apart by the revelation that her son was nothing but a figment of her imagination.

Hence, family photos begin to disappear and the people closest to her begin to doubt her sanity.

When her psychiatrist informs her that her memories are symptomatic of the trauma she is still suffering from a miscarriage, she resolves to fight back, enlisting the reluctant support of Dominic West's alcoholic neighbour, whose own daughter was killed in the same plane crash.

Yet nothing can prepare them for the truth about what really happened to their loved ones.

 

Joseph Ruben's movie starts out promisingly enough only to become increasingly absurd the further it delves into sub-Twilight Zone territory.

Had its twist been more plausible, or explained better, the film might not seem so disappointing, yet by opting to play things a little too safe it eventually undoes all the things which threatened to make it so interesting.

That it avoids becoming a complete write-off has more to do with Moore's commanding presence in the central role, which manages to combine the sensitivity of her grieving mother with the feistiness of someone who is not prepared to forget the past.

Moore is consistently engaging, forcing viewers to root for her character even if they don't necessarily enjoy the path that Gerald Di Pego's screenplay takes them.

For those willing to suspend disbelief, however, The Forgotten does succeed in maintaining a suitably creepy feel throughout and even makes viewers jump on several occasions, tossing in some well-hidden jolts to keep them awake.

Yet for all of the positives that can be taken from it, the film eventually becomes a little lazy, relying on formulaic plot points to reach its unsatisfying conclusion.

Most of the characters on Moore's trail eventually conform to stereotype in some way, right down to the villain who has to explain everything, while the director's over-use of tireless car chases feels like an attempt to mask the film's ever-widening plot holes.

By the time events reach their implausible conclusion, you're likely to have forgotten what hooked you in the first place, while scratching your head with anger and frustration at the innumerable plot strands that the film leaves unexplained.

 

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