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Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) lives in anguish since her 8 year old son Sam disappeared on a flight with other children over a year earlier. Her psychiatrist, Dr Munce (Gary Sinise) and her husband Jim (Anthony Andrews) are unable to help or console her, despite their attempts to convince her that she never had a son and she's delusional. But when she finds that another parent, Ash (Dominic West) also remembers a daughter, she regains her confidence in her own sanity and together they embark on a dramatic and dangerous mission against mysterious forces to find the lost children. Children that someone is trying to make them forget.

Review by Louise Keller:
An arresting idea that comes undone by a wildly problematic script, The Forgotten is a sorry disappointment, despite strong central performances by Julianne Moore and Dominic West. The film begins with all the promise of an intriguing psychological thriller set to take us on a turbulent ride. The opening credits disappear provocatively, as striking aerial cinematography peers down at masses of water and the distinctive skyscrapers of New York City - first in sunshine, then in shadow. James Horner's music is dense and atmospheric. We see a pensive woman on a swing. It is winter and the trees are bare.

Many filmmakers have tinkered with the elements surrounding memory. From the classic amnesiac in films such as Spellbound to more recent variations with films like Memento and Paycheck, there are countless possibilities. Screenwriter Gerald DiPego's (Message In A Bottle) notion to make memories fade at will, explores the strength of a mother's instinctive love for her child. But he fails to make any of the characters more than fractionally dimensional, and the relationships between them have not been properly developed. Director Joseph Ruben (Sleeping With the Enemy) takes the material as though it is a ball of wool that has become entangled.

We accept the premise and empathise for the grief-stricken mother mourning the loss of her young son. But as the storyline progresses, incongruous events and dialogue alienate us. When Moore's Telly finally convinces West's Ash that she is not delusional, they begin a manic dash through the streets of New York. There's the squeal of brakes, a car crash, unknown people are hot in pursuit. Who are they and why are they chasing them? How do they find them so easily, and quickly? Then there's Linus Roache's unnamed man, who appears out of nowhere unexpectedly. If Ruben's intention is to make him look enigmatic, he doesn't succeed. There is one chilling scene in which Roache's character appears sinister, but the rest of the time, he is portrayed as characterless. To his detriment. Gary Sinese's psychiatrist suffers the same fate. The flashbacks to scenes of Telly and son Sam are repetitive. I started to no longer care. Telly's relationship with her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) is unbelievable, and the street scene when she discovers that he has forgotten her, is ludicrous. To top it off, I could swear that Moore's long red hair changed colour somewhere in the middle of the film for a few scenes.

All these elements distract and shatter our belief of the story. When the ending finally arrives, and we piece together the elements, it is difficult to feel anything more disdain and disappointment. This is one film that will be quickly forgotten.

For those who want to know more, the DVD offers an alternate ending (which is equally unsatisfying), deleted scenes (including a kiss between Telly and Ash), an audio commentary and a couple of behind the scene features.

Published April 14, 2005

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CAST: Julianne Moore, Christopher Kovaleski, Anthony Edwards, Jessica Hecht, Linus Roache, Gary Sinise, Dominic West, Alfre Woodard

PRODUCER: Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks, Joe Roth

DIRECTOR: Joseph Ruben

SCRIPT: Gerald Di Pego


EDITOR: Richard Francis-Bruce

MUSIC: James Horner


RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, alternate ending, behind the scenes features

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April 13, 2005

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