Directed by Joseph Ruben
Produced by Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks & Joe Roth
Written by Gerald Di Pego
Director of Photograpy Anastas N. Michos
Music by James Horner
Cast: Julianne Moore, Gary Sinise, Dominic West, Alfre Woodard & Anthony Edwards
2004/91 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD
In my recent review for THE VILLAGE, I commented on how audiences have become so accustomed to thrillers featuring twist endings that we go out of our way to look for them, and, at least for me, this can draw the viewer out of the movie. Which is why I truly admire the makers of THE FORGOTTEN. This movie throws a huge twist at the audience within the first ten minutes, making that search for the surprise irrelevant. Following this, the movie takes the viewer on wild journey which reveals the truth behind that opening twist.
As THE FORGOTTEN opens, we meet Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore), a woman who is grieving over the loss of her son, Sam (Christopher Kovaleski). Sam died 14 months ago in a plane crash, and Telly has been unable to let go of her memories and she often visits Sam's room, looks through photo albums, or watches home videos. There's only one problem -- according to Telly's husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards) and her therapist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), Telly never had a son. They report that she did have a miscarriage and due to that trauma, has created her own reality, including Sam. But, Telly refuses to accept their explanation, even when the photos of Sam and his belongings begin to disappear. Telly seeks out Ash (Dominic West), an alcoholic ex-hockey player, as she's convinced that he is in a similar position as her -- that he had a daughter that no one remembers. Together they begin to seek out the truth and soon learn that Telly may not be insane.
Anyone who's been to the movies in the past decade knows that modern trailers are way too detailed and often give away keep points of the film (if not the entire plot). THE FORGOTTEN has the feeling of one of those films, as the trailer (live my above synopsis) reveals the fact that Telly mourns the loss of a son that no one else remembers. In most films in this post-THE SIXTH SENSE world, the fact that there is no son would be the shocking twist ending. But, as noted above, this is the beginning of THE FORGOTTEN and the film immediately makes us question Telly's sanity. This also leaves the viewer feeling very vulnerable, as the movie lets us know right away that something else has got to happen and that it can happen at any time.
Based on reviews for THE FORGOTTEN that I've read on the net, when the big twist does finally come, it seems to have turned a lot of people off. And, to be frank, I'm not sure as to why. (Maybe this has to do with the fact that for once, I had things figured out.) The direction that the story takes in THE FORGOTTEN is certainly different and therefore, was apparently disconcerting for many people. But, what's wrong with that? The ending is definitely a surprise and very creative. Many movies can create a nice story, but don't know how to end it. Writer Gerald DiPego clearly had a vision for the film and although some may feel that the movie makes no sense, closer inspection reveals that everything does fall into place. Even those who didn't like the ending must admit that the film has some truly shocking moments, and contains at least two of the best jump scares that I've seen in several years. (I rewound one of the moments to watch it again, and my wife jumped the second time, even though she knew what was going to happen!)
THE FORGOTTEN features a return to the genre for director Joseph Ruben, who directed two old favorites, DREAMSCAPE and THE STEPFATHER. He brings a very nice look to the film (which makes sense as the story progresses) and with those shocking moments, shows that he certainly knows how to cut a film. The anchor in the movie is Julianne Moore who does a fantastic job. One of the reasons that the film works is that we believe in Telly, even when we doubt her sanity. She makes the character real and carries the movie. She's surrounded by a fantastic cast including West, Sinise, Edwards, and Alfre Woodard. THE FORGOTTEN doesn't bring anything new to the genre, but in a year where the current king of the shock film, M. Night Shyamalan, stumbled with THE VILLAGE, THE FORGOTTEN does remind us just how energizing a movie can be when it keeps us guessing.
THE FORGOTTEN suddenly appears on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks very good, as it's very sharp and clear. There is a small amount of grain present on the image, but this is most likely due to the process used to create the very blue look of the film. That look works well here and the image is never overly dark. Minor haloes appear around the actors, but artifacting problems are kept to a minimum. The DVD features a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which rocks. The track delivers clear dialogue with no distortion. The surround sound and subwoofer effects are superb and only add to the shocking moments in the film. This is one of those films in which a great audio track actually enhances the effectiveness of the movie.
THE FORGOTTEN DVD contains a nice selection of extras. The DVD contains both the original theatrical cut of the film (91 minutes) and an extended cut, which runs some 12 minutes longer. This cut incorporates two deleted scenes and an alternate cut of the ending, which are available as a stand alone feature on the DVD. The "alternate ending" is basically the same ending, but with some added footage. The DVD features an audio commentary from director Joseph Ruben and writer Gerald DiPego. This is a very good track, as the duo, who obviously grew to like each other during the production, as their discussion is quite jovial. They do a good job of discussing the origin of the script, the locations, and the actors. They also talk about the steps that they took to keep the audience guessing, yet still involved in the film. "Remembering THE FORGOTTEN" is a very in-depth 20-minute "making of" featurette. This segment features comments from the cast and crew, as they discuss the script, the cast and the characters, and the visual FX. There is a nice amount of behind-the-scenes footage. Oddly, the DVD contains a second "making of" entitled, "On the Set: The Making of THE FORGOTTEN" (14 minutes). This offering has more of a Hollywood feel, as it features a lot of clips from the film and is very light on details. The extras are rounded out by the Teaser Trailer for THE FORGOTTEN (1.85:1) as well as the Theatrical Trailer (1.85:1).
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©