Director - Joseph Ruben
Year - (2004)

A grieving mother, Telly Paretta, is struggling to cope with the loss of her 8-year-old son. She is stunned when her psychiatrist tells her that she has created eight years of memories of a son she never had. But when she meets a fellow patient who has a similar experience, Telly embarks on a mission to prove her son's existence and her sanity.

'The Forgotten' opens with a knockout premise which holds the promise that director Joseph Ruben is going after the same taught psychological thriller vibe that boosted his 1991 film, 'Sleeping with the Enemy. ' What would happen if the child you were grieving over, almost pathologically, turned out to be a hoax? Their whole life the end product of an elaborate mind game your brain was playing on you? 'Forgotten' has a foundation built for thrills and twists, but somewhere in development, the material was thrashed by the stick of stupidity.

Written by Gerald Di Pego, 'Forgotten' feels like a discarded 'Outer Limits' episode that was somehow stretched from 45 minutes to 90. Without giving too much away, the film is tinged with science fiction, which undercuts the psychological aspects of the story fairly quickly. Let's just say that what begins as a study of the mind ends with material that Mulder and Scully wouldn't be out of place investigating. What 'The Forgotten' eventually becomes isn't such a terrible thing, but Di Pego grips the audience right away with a more Earthbound story, and when the sci-fi elements start to ratchet up in the last half of the picture, the careful balance and mood are thrown to the wind.

Ruben does provide a couple of great scare moments, one of which is an incredible audience-tosses-popcorn-in-the-air car crash scene that is executed perfectly. And his ability to manipulate the material to a contractual running time is impressive in hindsight. However, as the events in the film get more fantastical, Ruben keeps skipping opportunities for his characters to react to the lunacy. Some strange stuff happens to Telly, and all she can do is incessantly whine about her son (the amount of times Moore yells, 'Sam!' could be a new drinking game in the making), oblivious to the oddities that keep pursuing her. This results in one sequence where the roof is literally blown away above Telly, and Ruben simply fades to black. What? There would be enough movie material in the response to this incident alone, but it's left to the audiences' imaginations, when very little else is.

'The Forgotten' is aided by good performances and a creepy tone, but undone by 'X-Files' leftovers, and a direct lift from Alex Proyas's 'Dark City. 'Maybe the film's title says it best, and the picture would be better appreciated as a distant memory that never happened.

Reviewed By - Nemesis

Rating ( 3 of 5 )



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