A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED PG-13 for Language, Scariness, and Little Children
Starring: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Anthony Edwards
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

Final Grade:

Playing out like an extended episode of The X-Files, The Forgotten is a film plagued by a plot conclusion that will undoubtedly be its most memorable point. Most viewers will forget the acting, the direction, and almost everything else outside this plot twist, and will either take a large leap of faith or give an angry scowl of disdain. If you haven’t seen the film, you might want to steer clear of the rest of this review (though, to be honest, the trailer made the possibilities of the twist pretty obvious.)

We start with a look at the story that leads up to the revelation of the film’s antagonizing force. A NYC mom, plagued by her son’s disappearance and apparent death months earlier, wakes up one day to find all traces of her son’s existence missing. Soon, her husband’s remembrance of her is gone too, and so is an acquaintance’s recollection of his daughter, who also disappeared. But who or what is responsible for the phenomenon?

Before its inevitable plot turn, The Forgotten manages to be a highly effective and intriguing thriller. Julianne Moore shows once again why she’s one of the best actresses living today with a emotive, well-played portrayal of fear and paranoia, while her supporting cast (particularly Rock Star’s Dominic West and ER’s Anthony Edwards) plays the other hand adequately. There are a lot of thought inspiring questions raised, and a solid bit of action too. It’s a perfectly capable thriller, until it gets to that fork in the plot’s road.

The way I see it, The Forgotten had three possible ways to explain its mysterious conflict. Two of the three have been done often, and are simple yet interesting. The third sits as the “well, I suppose they could do that, but it seems awfully silly” choice. As you can probably guess by my comments leading up to this, The Forgotten embraces option three.

Once the film reveals exactly how it plans to deal with its conflict, the viewer is left with a choice to make. Should they accept this story and suspend their disbelief, even if the rest of the film has been so grounded in reality? Or is this simply a cheap screenwriter’s trick, designed because the writer didn’t know how else to get himself out of a jam?

I’ll leave the decision of whether or not The Forgotten’s final act is worthwhile or not to you, because I feel this film is one that has to be looked at on an individual basis. This is sure to make it a “love it or hate it” selection, and those that expected a new horror classic might be disappointed. I chose to suspend my disbelief, thanks mostly to the fact that the scenes leading up to the twist worked so competently and the fact that it really was the only way to end the film without far too many contrivances. Whether or not you feel the same is up to you, though I highly doubt you’ll fail to remember viewing this thriller.

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