Movie Reviews

bellview--i love movies

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

Movie Awards
2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
2006 Roundup
2007 Roundup
2008 Roundup
2009 Roundup


"The Forgotten"

Directed by Joseph Ruben.
Written by Gerald Di Pego.
Starring Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Alfre Woodard and Gary Sinise.

Release Year:  2004 
Review Date:  9/26/04


"The Forgotten" has one of those trailers that reminds you (or maybe, just me) of the trailer for "The Negotiator", the Sam Jackson/Kevin Spacey thriller from a few years back that my brother and I still joke about, because they gave you the movie's whole damn plot and its ending right there in the 60-second preview.

The problem, especially when you see a ton of movies, is that you see trailers for all of the same flicks when you see mainstream films and the trailer for "The Forgotten" gives damn near everything away in its preview.  So, by the time the movie starts, you already have some feel for what's going to happen over the film's first, oh, 90 minutes, and then you just wait for the ending, which may or may not have some big, spooky surprise.

This makes "The Forgotten" more exercise than film, because you sit feeling the burn of watching a plot that has already been accurately summarized in the dozen trailers you have seen for the film.  There's a mother named Telly (Julianne Moore) who has lost a son to a plane crash about 14 months ago, and along with her husband (Anthony Edwards), is coping with their loss.  Soon after we learn that Telly is still dealing with the death of the boy, named Sam, pictures and other keepsakes of the boy's memory start...well, disappearing from their home, prompting Telly to start thinking that she is losing it, until she meets a former hockey player named Ash (Dominic West), whom Telly believes has lost a daughter on that same plane.  The two strike up a friendship, which leads them on a mystery trail to find out what happened to Telly's son.

Now, the biggest problem with the trailer is also the coolest thing about "The Forgotten"--every so often, people seem to get sucked right off the ground and into the sky at rapid speed, which in a theater with the appropriate sound system is just fucking cool to watch.  This also means that you will come into the movie waiting for said people to get sucked into the sky, lending you the feeling that more is going on here than just a little murder mystery in terms of a sci-fi angle.  And that means that almost all of the film's plot feels incredibly anti-climactic, as you are still seeing scenes from the trailer right up to almost the last frame of the movie...and, you've known that there is some kind of alien force at work here and you just need to be told why, which does not a good movie make.

The pacing of the film is just fine, and someone really scored a touchdown here in the casting department by somehow convincing Julianne Moore to do this film; she gives the film an actress that almost seems too good to be in "The Forgotten", as she gives many of her scenes the kind of edge that has made her so great in films that are worthy, like "An Ideal Husband" or "The Hours."  Plus, they got Gary Sinise to be in this film; "The Forgotten" seems like it would be B-movie all the way on paper, but with actors like Sinise and Moore on board, it gives the film much more to watch as you wait for the various plot "twists" to occur.  (They would really be twists if they hadn't told us damn near everything in the fucking previews!!)

But, by the time the film goes "X-Files" on us, and we get into the meat of what has happened to Telly's son, the film seems to go into auto-pilot and we get one little thing after another that makes you shake your head.  Wouldn't you be completely flabbergasted if you were talking to someone at work and they just happened to get blasted right off the floor and into the sky, blowing the roof off of your building?  I sure would be, but in "The Forgotten", it's more of a

"Man, did you see that?...Well, let's get back to the apartment and search for more clues!"

I mean, after the first guy gets blown off his feet and into the stratosphere, I was blown away...and there's Ash, asking Telly if she's okay...and then just moving along, like he just saw something like that last week!  Later, one character witnesses another absorbing bullets like the Terminator, and instead of calling for backup, she's kind of like "Well, I guess I can't shoot this guy...maybe I'll run after him, and try to ask him how his skin can do that!"  I'm sitting there in my seat watching this horseshit with my arms up, certainly pissing off the people behind me.  Sometimes, writers really do go off the deep end.

All that being said, "The Forgotten" should probably be a Rental-worthy film, but its strong performances give it the bump.  You won't feel too bad dropping $6 on this bad boy.

Rating:  Matinee


Comments?  Drop me a line at


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09