[box cover]

The Forgotten

Julianne Moore has been so prolific in turning out knockout performances in works of great acclaim that her filmography over the last decade is almost unequaled in artistic prestige. Starting with her stunning turn in Robert Altman's 1993 Short Cuts, Moore went on to provide breathtaking major roles in award contenders like Vanya on 42nd Street, Safe, Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, Magnolia, Far from Heaven, and The Hours. In fact, Moore's selective career has been so impressive that it's very easy to forget that she has even more generously contributed her doubtless talents to a dubious list of high-profile stinkers, including the Madonna debacle Body of Evidence, Assassins, Nine Months, The Lost World, Hannibal, Evolution, The Laws of Attraction, and appropriately continued with 2004's aptly named thriller The Forgotten, which may be an allusion to the half of Moore's oeuvre that goes suspiciously unmentioned in her more fawning reviews. Moore stars as Telly Paretta, a Brooklyn wife mentally unraveling from what her psychiatrist (Gary Sinise) calls "paranesia": a condition that manifests in the creation of false memories — in Telly's case memories of a dead nine-year-old son who never really existed. However, this being the erstwhile suspense subgenre of "the-crazy-are-really-sane," there's naturally more to the scenario than Telly's caretakers let on, or even know. As premises go, The Forgotten shows fair promise, tapping into the emotional strength of the mother-child bond as fuel for its thrills, and with a heavyweight like Moore to give it some gravity. But as Telly enlists the reluctant aid of a former hockey player (Dominic West) with similar "false" memories of a child killed in the same plane crash as Telly's, The Forgotten quickly degenerates into a very ordinary, over-produced heart-pounder with obligatory urban chase scenes, rural hideouts, sinister government agents, wide-eyed villains, and egregiously silly bits of expository dialogue like "The truth? The goddamn truth won't fit in your brain!" The combination of veteran TV hack Gerald (Phenomenon) Di Pego's screenplay and C-movie journeyman Joseph (The Stepfather) Ruben's direction was always unlikely to imbue The Forgotten with any special qualities. Even with the help of solid supporters like Sinise, Anthony Edwards, and Alfre Woodard (in the clichéd role of a brassy New York detective who don't take no orders from no federal agents) Moore is sadly left to carry this bulky and overwrought vehicle for obtuse art director Paul D. Kelly, and she does her best. But this time her best isn't good enough. Columbia TriStar presents The Forgotten in a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. This release contains two cuts of the film, the theatrical version and a slightly longer version with a few extended and deleted scenes incorporated, as well as an alternate ending that is unlikely to phase any viewer already numbed by having watched the original. These extra scenes are also available individually through the Special Features menu. Ruben and Di Pego chat far too seriously about their movie on a commentary track, and there are also a couple of featurettes for die-hard fans: "On the Set: The Making of The Forgotten" and "Remembering The Forgotten," a "deeper look into the minds behind the making of the film." Trailers, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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