Movies — The Forgotten (R)

The Forgotten (R)

- Amy Diaz

Julianne Moore and Dominic West play a Scully and Mulder in search of their children in the suspense thriller The Forgotten.

Or rather “suspense” and “thriller” are clearly things the movie was going for. It doesn’t really make it but labeling it an “obvious sleep-inducer” might be a little obtuse in the first sentence of a review.

Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is all about the long face and the glum looks—after all, 14 months ago her beloved only son was killed in a plane crash with six classmates. She is now only slowly beginning to piece together her life. She has “been good” with all the wallowing in grief, locking away her son’s pictures, scrapbooks and videos. But one day she passes a family photograph and, whoosh, like magic her son is gone. She yells at Jim (Anthony Edwards), her husband, telling him to bring back the picture with Sam. What Sam?, he says. There was never any Sam.

Telly heads to Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), her therapist. He tells her that for months, possibly years, she’s been hallucinating a child. She had a miscarriage once, but there was no child, not ever. Telly is frantic and she searches everywhere but she finds no evidence of her boy. Even news stories about the plane crash are nowhere to be seen.

She ends up at the home of Ash Correll (Dominic West), a father to one of the other children lost on that day. But he doesn’t remember having a daughter. Even when she rips up the wallpaper in his room to reveal a wall covered with child’s drawings, he calls the police and has her taken away.

An alcoholic, Ash pours himself the second drink of the morning while he watches the police talk her away. He goes back into the bedroom, stares at the walls, says his daughter’s name and, presto chango, he remembers her. No, wait, come back, policemen, Ash says. Yo man, you’re too late, the policemen say. The National Security Agency have her.

And henceforth the jig on what is actually going on in this movie is up, because the NSA don’t handle missing children or crazy-lady cases, as a no-nonsense police woman later points out.

Ah, it’s nice that every now and then a movie will come along and try to fill that government-conspiracy void left by the cancellation of The X-Files. Too bad it’s never with the style and campy fun of early X-Files. Too bad it’s always with the inexplicable logic and poorly constructed plot of those later seasons.

Tweak the script slightly and there are some really good story possibilities about a woman who claims to have had a dead child that everyone around her claims never existed. Is she a sad nutcase who never got over a miscarriage or is her husband gaslighting her? I’m not saying it’s Hitchcock reborn but there’s certainly fun to be had.

In this case, the movie takes an OK premise and a decent enough actress (not to mention the consistently excellent Dominic West) and runs straight into a wall of stupid. Nothing in the last hour and 20-some minutes of the movie matches the stylishly mournful tone or the potentially creepy story of the first 10 minutes.

- Amy Diaz

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH