The Forgotten

| October 3, 2004

Two hours is a long time to keep an audience’s attention, and so many films fail to do so, but director Joseph Ruben seems to have stumbled upon some secret attention-grabbing element that should be sold in Hollywood. He has managed to take a mediocre plot, terrible dialogue and bad acting and, through terrifying startles and jumps, keep his audience riveted.
The plot is luke-warm at best as Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) befriends ex-hockey player Ash Correll (Dominc West) as they follow a trail of clues in hopes of finding the truth about what happened to their children. Telly has spent years believing that her son has been killed in an airplane crash. When photos and videos of her son’s life begin to disappear, she questions her husband who tells her they never had a child.
Enraged by his sudden betrayal, Telly flees from her home, psychiatrist and the police as she is diagnosed as a crazy person. After a brief encounter in which he doesn’t remember her, she sifts through Ash’s alcoholic haze and convinces him that he once had a daughter. Apparently to remember his now missing daughter, all he had to do was say her name. No longer alone in her quest, Telly begins to conquer self-doubt, and see things more clearly.
Government conspiracy and strange sci-fi elements keep this plot from going south as the pair run from the NSA, police and psychiatrists. But the obstacle this plot fails to overcome is predictability. Nearly every “twist” and “turn” can be seen way before they manifest on screen, keeping a good idea from becoming a great one. The villain is seen very early in the film, and while it is the director’s intention to pass him off as a random pedestrian, his role is obvious.
Moore tries really hard to hold this piece together with her merely competent co-star West, but neither were really given much to work with in this script. Some scenes were completely ruined as the audience was laughing through lines that would have fit better in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Bad dialogue leads to bad acting, and this film had plenty of both.
What keeps the audience from walking out the theatre doors is Ruben’s ability to really scare. The last half of this film has some genuinely scary scenes. One instance in particular, an extremely vivid car crash, left me shaking, and, based on their screams, I’m not sure if the girls in the row behind be will ever recover.
The cons definitely win the battle as this film doesn’t have much to offer, but if you like an easy scare, check it out. While not a terrifying film in premise, The Forgotten will make your heart beat faster–a lot faster.

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