Forgotten (기억의 밤) (2017) (Review)

I am always quite happy whenever Netflix takes a couple of year old films that I would have never stumbled upon otherwise, and adds them to their interminable streaming collection. This is how I managed to choose Forgotten as my viewing of choice one evening, and went into the watching experience without knowing anything about it – save for the fact that it is a South Korean thriller released back in 2017.

Having watched Forgotten, I can safely say that a two-line plot description would have not helped much in this case. The film is extremely unpredictable, and keeps juggling with diametrically opposed ideas, themes and happenings. Even after the first couple of times that it plays its tricks on viewers, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to guess what will come next. From the very beginning, there are some brief snippets of weirdness that make one wonder, but just how they will all blend together remains pretty much an unknown throughout the entire duration of the film. This went to the point where I simply gave up making predictions about what would happen next, and decided to simply take in one plot twist at a time.

❝The most notable aspect of Forgotten is its muddled relationship with its audience.

Because of the importance of the plot structure and development plays into the overall viewing experience, I will not really go into too much detail with regard to this. But I think it is safe enough to start with the premise. A seemingly normal family – the parents and their two sons – move into a new house, somewhere on the outskirts of Seoul. Slightly bizarre things start happening from the very first night – footsteps and screeches are heard from an upstairs room, which is apparently locked and off-limits from the time being. Then, one of the following evenings, the older brother is suddenly kidnapped, and only returns home 19 days later, with seemingly no recollection of anything following his abduction. Events start to escalate once the younger brother discovers very weird behaviour of his sibling.

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The most notable aspect of Forgotten is its muddled relationship with its audience. Each and every one of the characters is shrouded in a cloud of doubt, and thus the film creates a layered suspicion which never seems to fully answer the ever-increasing pile of ambiguous questions. A state of something that resembles paranoia starts to surround the viewer, in the absence of what initially seemed like a reliable narration of the events. A host of surprises follow suit.

❝One of the most unpredictable films I have seen.

Forgotten is a dark psychological thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep the viewing experience entertaining, while meanwhile also keeping the mind occupied and on edge. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint any aspect of it as extraordinary – the story does have its share of plot holes, the acting is not always top notch, and the direction is not flawless. It certainly does not reach the sheer suspense and artistic flow that South Korean masterpieces such as Parasite or Burning do, but it does take a firm place in my list of the most unpredictable films I have seen.




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