Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Forgotten

The trailers for this film really got my attention. What at first looked like a standard 'my kid has disappeared' plot turned into a global style conspiracy story. I was definitely going to see this movie! I never did get to see it during its initial release, but the fact that it was the number 1 movie in America for two weeks straight upheld my belief that it was going to rock. Now that I've seen it in second run, I have to say that it does rock for the first 90 minutes. Then it falls apart with a lame ass cop out ending that ruins the whole film.

Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) has just begun to get over the death of her young son who died in a plane crash with his classmates 16 months earlier. She begins to notice people are watching her the day that pictures and videos of her son disappear, and her husband (Anthony Edwards) and psychiatrist (Gary Sinise) begin to tell her that her son never existed. He was just a figment of her imagination that she's been clinging to for the last 10 years to fill in some empty space in her life. Well, she's too stubborn to accept that and decides to hunt down the parents of the children who died in the crash as well. She finds Ash Correll (Dominic West), an ex-hockey player who claims that he never had a daughter until Telly helps him remember her. They believe that their children are alive somewhere, taken by someone who has changed the memories of all who knew them. But for what end?

It's a cool, tense little film that is very subtle with it's scares (most of them creep up on you without you noticing it), is very light on CGI, filled with mood, dread and confusion and keeps you interested with it's excellent performances by Julianne Moore and Dominic West as the obsessed parents who are searching for their children. An amusingly smart assed show by Alfre Woodard as a cynical detective is a welcome addition as well. And the great thing is that when you think the characters are at the end of their journey, there's nowhere else to go, something happens that pulls the rug out from under them and the audience, and makes us realize that whet we've learned up until that point is really just a small piece in the grand scheme of things. It's a clever flick.

The problems lies with the studio messing with the final version that was released to theaters. The story takes us to a place we weren't expecting to go (a mildly cheesy place, but it's tolerable), and it's clear to the audience that there's only one direction for Telly to take before the film ends. We start to move in that direction... then the newly re-shot ending begins which pretty much spits on the audience in order to give us the same happy sappy ending that all movies have. It's a shame, because I was REALLY into this flick when I was watching it, then I realized what was going on during the last few minutes was a sloppily thrown together grin machine. Pathetic. Would it kill a studio to have the balls to give us a movie with a challenging ending?

It's a really good flick well worth your time. Just turn it off once it hits the 90 minute mark. Any ending you can come up with on the spot is sure to be better then the manufactured one on display here.

2 of 5

*written 11/5/04

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