Forgotten REVIEW

Forgotten REVIEW

0 comments 📅26 April 2018, 19:37

Jin-seok wakes up from a recurring nightmare, one in which the subject is threatened and brutally killed for not remembering a heinous crime. With sweat rolling down his face he looks to his mother, father, and brother Yoo-seok for reassurance, their smiles convincing him that everything will be okay as they arrive at their new home. The familiar building marks a new chapter in Jin-seok’s life, but there’s a room that he is particularly drawn to, one that is locked from the inside and his family tells him he must never go into — even after strange sounds begin to emanate from within.

The anxious 20-year-old can’t help but see danger all around him, and his worst fears are realised when his older brother is kidnapped by unknown assailants. He’s sure he’s lost Yoo-seok forever, but -somehow- his sibling returns to him unscathed 19 days later. Something doesn’t seem right about him, though. He regularly disappears into the night, avoids any questions he doesn’t want to answer, and even limps on the wrong leg. What exactly happened to him when he was kidnapped? And is he still really his brother?

Using unsettling sounds, and music reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, director Jang Hang-jun creates a tense atmosphere surrounding his characters, adding to the mystery of Jin-seok’s home life with subtle imagery and a powerful script. It’s difficult to know what’s real and what’s not on screen, not least because of the lead protagonist’s constant panic-stricken state and his family’s dismissive attitude. In a particularly harrowing scene, Jin-seok turns to his mother for help but when he overhears her talking about his brothers cover ‘being blown’ he realises that she may not be who she says she is either.

Forgotten is full of powerful performances, but it is Kang Ha-neul and Kim Mu-yeol as Jin-seok and Yoo-seok, respectively, who are the most impressive. Both have the difficult task of portraying multi-layered characters on screen, protagonists who hide their true feelings and are riddled with inner demons. Kang Ha-neul’s nuanced portrayal is the driving force behind the film, as his delivery and emotional depiction proves to be a powerhouse in this film. One minute we are on his side, and the next we loathe him, but rather than putting things in black-and-white director Jang Hang-jun leaves it up to us to decide how we should feel about his lead character.

Another thing that the audience are presented in Forgotten is a fascinating plot twist, one that will genuinely surprise viewers. While it is impressive, it does come so early that the shock may not have as much impact as originally intended. Where the first half is full of tension and mystery, the second is ruled by exposition and flashbacks which, while intriguing, takes over the plot and disturbs the flow of the narrative. Even so, Jang Hang-jun presents an interesting conundrum with this final arc, as he focuses on victims, criminals and what it means to be guilty. Through his excellent storytelling we are faced with an array of emotions, particularly towards Jin-seok, and this is what makes his film so memorable.

 Jang Hang-jun
Release: Out Now
From: Netflix
Format: VOD
Age Rating: 15

Review by Roxy Simons

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