Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Forgotten (2004)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Like some of the other reviewers on Epinions, I had such high hopes for The Forgotten. What I got from the trailers was that a mother finds out that her son never existed and that she’s the only one that remembers him. She goes on a wild chase to find out what happened. If you’ve seen the trailers, you’re going to feel betrayed, or at least grossly misled.

The mother is Telly Paretta, who’s married to Jim. The two had a son, Sam, who died in a plane crash 14 months prior to the time frame of the movie. He’s gotten over it, but she hasn’t. She goes into his room and looks through pictures and handles things of his, such as a baseball cap and glove. She’s seeing a psychiatrist and is making progress. That is until one day, all solid evidence of Sam disappears. Videotapes are erased. Sam disappears from pictures or the pictures disappear altogether. Telly is the only one that remembers her son. According to Jim and the psychiatrist, she had a miscarriage. Telly is certain that she didn’t make up 9 years of her life.

It looks at first like Telly is having a mental breakdown. You may have heard of Occam’s Razor, which states that usually, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Is she be delusional or could someone have changed or disposed of all of her pictures, erased the tapes and ‘gotten to’ everyone that knew Sam except for Telly? If so, why?

She eventually meets up with Ash, the father of Lauren. Lauren was one of Sam’s friends; they died in the same crash. The funny thing is that Ash doesn’t remember being a father and he certainly doesn’t remember Sam and Telly. Telly is able to get him to remember Lauren and the two go off together in search of answers. Along the way, they’re pursued by local police, the Feds, the psychiatrist and Jim.

That’s when it gets strange. We’re talking X-Files and Unbreakable strange. The problem is that we don’t get the same resolution we get with Unbreakable. In The Sixth Sense, there was this Earth-shattering, mind-warping twist that no one could see coming. It was similar for Unbreakable. With The Forgotten, I could very often tell what was coming next. The end left me wondering how much of it was delusion and how much was real, but that was because the movie spent very little time on the ending.

The advantage that the X-Files had was that it was a long-running series. That lack of resolution for many of the episodes played into the character of the series. That doesn’t happen here. I wanted more answers. I can’t really give you too many of the questions without giving away the movie, but I can give you a few examples. On is the psychiatrist. He knows more than he’s letting on. However, he says things to characters other than Telly that make you wonder. It’s also revealed who’s behind all of this, although they’re never actually shown nor is it explained why they were willing to go through so much effort.

The acting and direction are good. However, the writers could have done so much more with the premise and the story. I could see the movie being the basis for a TV series or a few other movies. At 90-something minutes, they could have at least added more footage. It’s not like they didn’t have the extra time.

In the end, the movie left too many loose ends and ultimately required too many leaps of faith. I can’t give this movie more than three stars. It’s entertaining, but not really satisfying. I didn’t come away from the movie feeling like it was worth the position in my NetFlix queue. 

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