Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: "The Forgotten" - Good Premise, Poor Execution (Happy B'day, James Horner)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 193 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Forgotten (2004)
Running time:  96 minutes (1 hour, 36 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense thematic material, some violence, and brief language
DIRECTOR:  Joseph Ruben
WRITER:  Gerald Di Pego
PRODUCERS:  Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks, and Joe Roth
EDITOR:  Richard Francis-Bruce
COMPOSER:  James Horner

MYSTERY/THRILLER with elements of sci-fi and horror

Starring:  Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Christopher Kovaleski, Anthony Edwards, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, Kathryn Faughnan, Linus Roache, and Robert Wisdom with J. Tucker Smith

The subject of this movie review is The Forgotten, a 2004 mystery and psychological thriller starring Julianne Moore.  The film follows a woman who delves into a strange conspiracy after being told that her son never existed.

The Forgotten is a riveting mystery thriller, but as the films moves through its plot, the film becomes ever more fantastical and, at time, eye-rolling ridiculous.  Still, the film has it’s moments, enough to earn it a recommendation as something to watch at home, either via DVD, video, or television.

The Forgotten begins with wife and mother Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) grieving over the loss of her eight-year old son, Sam (Christopher Kovaleski), in a plane accident 14 months prior.  However, of the course of a few days, evidence of Sam’s existence starts to disappear, and before long, even Telly’s husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards), claims that they never had a son.  But Telly is damn sure she had a boy.

She meets Ash Correll (Dominic West), the father of one of Sam’s best friends, but Ash doesn’t remember having a daughter.  Telly eventually convinces Ash to remember his child, and that’s about the time agents from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the police start coming around looking for Telly and Ash.  That not only convinces Telly that she did have a son, but that Sam might still be alive.  As she delves deeper into the mystery, she discovers that hugely powerful and ominous forces may be behind the abduction of her son.

The premise of a mother fighting to convince other people that the memories of her dead son are the recollections of a real child and not the delusions of a psychotic is actually good.  If only The Forgotten had stuck with that.  The basic premise becomes an abduction story, a government conspiracy tale, and way-out-there sci-fi trick, and though The Forgotten has its moments, the film is ultimately a warmed over rehash of themes from “The Twilight Zone,” “Outer Limits,” and “The X-Files.”  In addition to that, The Forgotten wouldn’t stand out as a “best of” in any of those TV series.  The ploy is too make you think you’re getting a good mystery about a woman fighting for her memories of her deceased child, and you’re ultimately getting something else.  The “abduction” special effects are admittedly quite neat and a good reason to see the film.

The performances are flimsy, with Moore being the most effective and most annoying.  Her Telly Paretta is sometimes sympathetic, but mostly the character does come across as a whiny, obsessed, paranoid delusional.  For all that you might want her to find her child, you’d really like her to shut up sometimes.  The film also features a few other actors wasted in small, trashy parts including Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, and Linus Roache.

5 of 10

Updated:  Wednesday, August 14, 2013


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