Starring: Kang Ha-neul, Kim Mu-yeol, Moon Sung-keun
Director: Jang Hang-jun
Running Time: 149 mins
Forgotten is a South Korean film about a young man who strives to find the truth of what happened to his brother who, after being abducted for 19 days, returned home with no memory but a markedly changed personality.
This is a really engrossing film, and one that’s full of great surprises throughout. An intriguing mystery thriller from beginning to end that cleverly pulls you back and forth, rendering its story very unpredictable, and along with fast-paced directing and a pulsating score and visual style, Forgotten is a properly exciting watch from start to finish.
The start of this film is a little strange, however. Although labelled as a mystery-thriller, the film actually takes on the appearance of a somewhat of a haunted house-horror movie in its initial stages. Of course, it’s not a deliberately scary affair, and save for a few fun jump scares, that atmosphere is mainly used to craft tension and unease around the characters, but it is a really striking opening act that grabs your attention and helps to set up the story very well.
And that story is what really makes Forgotten an engrossing watch. A good mystery is hard to really write well, as it’s difficult to give viewers something that they’ve never seen before in such a saturated genre, but this one does well to use a fairly simple plot in a unique way to make for an unpredictable watch throughout.
As I’ve said, the film’s eerie opening act grabs your attention and establishes the uneasy nature of the story, but the mystery really bursts into life in the second and third acts, where a whole manner of brilliant twists and narrative direction shifts turn the film into something that you really wouldn’t have seen coming at the start.
As usual, there are no spoilers here, but it suffices to say that the way in which Forgotten manages to turn its entire story and world on its head halfway through, and make the film even more engrossing and exciting as a result, is really impressive to see, and the film’s boldness really pays off throughout as it continues to surprise with a story that will definitely have you fully engrossed right to the end.
Along with the excellent twists and turns, we can’t forget how important director Jang Hang-jun’s style is in making Forgotten such an exciting watch. While an undoubtedly engrossing and well-written thriller, Jang makes this an equally entertaining watch through use of deliberately stylised thrills and scares throughout, with the aforementioned horror-style opening act being filled with enjoyably hyperbolic jump scares, tense background music, and gloomy visuals, while the film’s second and third acts bring some good self-awareness to the table by subtly poking fun at the extreme nature of some of the plot twists.
The humour and fun factor that Jang inserts into the film are subtle enough not to cheapen the genuine thrills of the brilliant story, but they are vital in making the film an even more entertaining and lively watch throughout, something that I really enjoyed.
Overall, I had great fun with Forgotten. It’s an engrossing, intriguing and unpredictable thriller filled with brilliant twists and turns throughout, and yet it still has the fun and entertainment factor to prove just as light and enjoyable a watch as it is mysterious, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.