2004, Columbia Pictures. Directed by Joseph Ruben. Julianne Moore, Anthony Edwards, Linus Roache, Gary Sinise, Dominic West, Alfre Woodard.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Teens & Up|
Content advisory: Constant suspense, some violence, profanity, offensive language, and sexual references.
A National Catholic Register “Video/DVD Picks” film.
By Steven D. Greydanus
What the father-son bond was to Frequency and the marital bond and doctor-patient relationship were to The Sixth Sense, mother love is to The Forgotten, a “Twilight Zone” / “X-Files”–esque thriller with a pro-life twist. Julianne Moore stars as a grieving mother who has lost her son in a plane crash, but is now inexplicably losing every sign that he ever existed.
The Forgotten has a great premise and a couple of terrific “gotcha” moments. What it doesn’t have, unfortunately, is a satisfying explanation for its uncanny goings-on. Instead, it resorts to a “black box” plot device that theoretically “explains” everything, but which can’t itself be satisfactorally explained.
Not that this is necessarily fatal. Hitchcock didn’t even try to explain The Birds, but it still makes for gripping entertainment while you’re watching it. Director Joseph Rubin’s no Hitchcock, but the emotional power of his premise and Moore’s performance make this film more enjoyable than other recent thrillers (e.g.,, The Village).
At least the story plays fair with its secret, tipping its hand early enough to avoid the cheat of an abrupt last-reel genre switch (cf. Vanilla Sky). And pro-life viewers will cheer a climactic moment that turns on a mother’s bond with her child preceding birth, in which the life-altering experience of life growing inside her gives the heroine strength to hold on.