By Chris Willman
January 18, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
The Forgotten: Barry Wetcher

One day Julianne Moore’s desperate housewife discovers that all traces of her late son have disappeared — from photos, her husband’s memory, even the New York Times microfiche. (Doesn’t she know Google caches will turn up anything?) It’s a canny way of tapping the basic fear that you or your loved ones will slip into historical amnesia, forgotten soon after shuffling off this mortal coil. In a commentary, screenwriter Gerald DiPego offers a nod to Rod Serling but doesn’t mention parallels with one of the creepiest Twilight Zones ever — ”And When the Sky Was Opened,” which had a lone astronaut similarly unable to convince doubters that his disappearing co-pilots ever existed. Forgotten isn’t a fraction as disturbing as that Zone, since an explanation only hinted at there becomes abundantly explicit here. But as a potboiler, it beats the last few seasons of that other obvious antecedent, The X-Files — or have you forgotten? EXTRAS Watching an alternate, pre-reshoots climax, you can second-guess whether they made the right call; the discarded capper is more resonant but less fun. DiPego and director Joseph Ruben have a nice commentary rapport; when the writer complains about dialogue interludes being cut, Ruben defends hustling through the action by explaining, ”I come from drive-in movies.”

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