Over-Cooked Not Forgotten Hard to Take Seriously

A thriller that wants to be taken seriously probably shouldn't feature Borat's hairy, rotund comic, Ken Davitian, in the role of a somber Catholic priest, but that's just one of the problems affecting director Dror Soref's off-kilter Not Forgotten. Mild-mannered banker Jack (Simon Baker) lives in a Texas border town with his new wife, Amaya (Paz Vega), and his daughter, Toby (Chloe Moretz), who clings possessively to the memory of her dead mother. When Toby goes missing during soccer practice, Jack suspects she has been abducted, possibly as part of an elaborate payback for something he did in his Mysterious Past. Not Forgotten overcooks just about every ingredient in its narrative chile con queso, from the occasional flash-cut editing to that most desperate of dramatic devices: juxtaposing a quietly intense dialogue scene with the sound of a shrieking kettle boiling on the stove. But if the film's first two-thirds are dreary and preposterous, give Soref credit for a truly—what's the proper cinematic terminology?—batshit-crazy finale, which involves demented religious sects, ridiculously bloody face-offs, and a gaggle of cross-dressing Mexican prostitutes. As with everything else in Not Forgotten, it's impossible to call the closing stretches accomplished, but at least their feverish urgency elevates the material into the realm of the truly whacked-out, which is always preferable to dull incompetence.

 
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