Forgotten (2017)

his is a nice little thriller with an intricate plot that’s almost impossible to outline without spoiling something. I suppose that in itself is a spoiler. But anyway.

Kang Ha-neul plays a 20-something student, Jin-seok, who, along with his big brother and their parents, move into a new house. He’s a hypersensitive guy, having nightmares and hearing strange sounds. One rainy night, his brother is shuffled into a van by unknown assailants, only to return 19 days later, having no memory of his disappearance. Jin-seok, however, begins to notice changes in his brother’s behaviour. You know. Alarming ones. Enough for him to follow his brother out into the streets at night, and so on.

The plot unravels from there, with time-tried things like scenes where Jin-seok approaches a door, while we see his feet, his fingers reaching for the doorknob, etc. This dates all the way back to thrillers like Hitchcock’s “Suspicion” (1941), when Joan Fontaine wondered if Cary Grant was a murderer. Or a little like David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” (2014) for that matter.

The movie is well-made as a genre exercise with touches of horror. Korean productions usually have a very Korean flavour, steeped in Korean sentiments (for lack of a better word), but this movie should be more «accessible» to an international audience. I’m not surprised it was picked up by Netflix, with little and easy dialogue, and a focus on a strong plot. And even if you know that there will be twists and turns, there should be something unexpected along the way.

PS: The Korean title translates as something like “The Night to Remember” or “Remember the Night”. It is definitely more fitting than the generic English title (“Forgotten”).

PPS: A note on the touches of horror. One scene involves TV footage featuring US President Donald Trump (with Korean president Moon Jae-in). Sure looks like horror.

Review by toskomst

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