Not Forgotten DVD review

Thursday, 08 April 2010 17:42

Simon Baker (The Mentalist, “Land of the Dead”), Paz Vega (“Spanglish”) and Chloe Moretz (“Kick-Ass”, “(500) Days of Summer”) star in this dark thriller set in the Texas/Mexico border town of Del Rio. Baker plays Jack Bishop, a successful business man and part-time school soccer coach. His daughter Toby (Moretz) - from his first marriage - is on the team but becoming increasingly distracted and wayward thanks to the early onset of womanhood.

One fateful day, Toby goes missing and is assumed abducted. The local Sheriff looks up all the suspected sex offenders to try to flush out any likely suspects, but the existence of “La Santa Muerte” (“Saint Death”), a shady religious cult on the periphery suggests that something even more disturbing is afoot. As Jack digs deeper into the case, the terrible events of his buried past start to surface and threaten to unravel everything.

Not Forgotten on DVDDirector “Dror Soref” manages to soak his thriller with plenty of atmosphere and a real sense of place. The geographical setting is central to the plot, and the bond between American Jack and Mexican Amaya (Vega) illustrates the sometimes uneasy alliance between two different cultures that are still learning each other’s ways. The movie is shot with the contrast turned up high, emphasizing the blacks and bright colours of each scene and often throwing much of the frame into moody shadow. One can almost feel the heat and dust of the region.

 

Even in the early scenes of the film, Jack wears the pained, haunted expression of someone whose conscience is eating them from within. The plot craftily teases new details about both the abduction case and Jack’s dark past, and the link between the two is suggested but cleverly veiled. Baker and Vega are a convincing couple, initially inseparable but gradually torn apart by events. Although Amaya clearly loves Toby, when tensions rise Jack cannot resist reminding her that Toby is not her daughter, and it is he who goes above and beyond to get his daughter back.

Jack’s forays into Mexico to chase up leads mirror the emergence of the darker, quite terrifying side to his personality. He visits strip clubs and bordellos, almost visibly accumulating moral dirt, or rather they have the effect of stripping away at his fragile “family man” shell to expose the real Jack underneath.

The best kept secret is the involvement of “La Santa Muerte”. Right up until the very end of the film, we are not sure what their intention is, and who ranks amongst their members. Flashbacks right from the start suggest horrific murders and Satanic rituals are part of their code, but it is unclear who is seeking protection from Death, and whom they fear. The trappings and tools of the practitioners are witnessed everywhere, such as tarot cards dropped in the park and strange golden pyramid snow-globe objects sitting on window ledges, and we, like Jack, are constantly searching for revelations as to what it all means.

Sadly, the ultimate reveal is a bit of a letdown. The slowly stoked-up atmosphere and twisting, red-herring-laden plot never quite deliver the dénouement or gut-punch one hopes for. It is as though all the wind is suddenly blown out of Soref’s sails, and although partly surprising, the resolution is disappointingly flat. The quality of the acting, Spanish guitar soundtrack and build up are very solid up to that point, though, and fans of portentous films like “Don’t Look Now” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” will still find much to enjoy here.

“Not Forgotten” (2009) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Anchor Bay Home Entertainment. The main feature is 93 minutes approx, certificate ‘18’ and retails for £15.99, or get it for less from www.culttvstore.com.

 

Movie Review: “Not Forgotten”

 

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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