Saturday, 22 April 2017

Review: Unforgettable

Cert: 15 / 100 mins / Dir. Denise Di Novi / Trailer

I see yer da's been browsing the steamy-thrillers section in Ritz Video again…

Yes tonight we're going to party like it's 1991, with the story of a jealous ex-wife who'll go to any lengths to blah blah blah you've seen it before oh look there's going to be murders and it'll end with a cat-fight*1. Unforgettable is a film which desperately hopes the paying-audience isn't old enough to have already gotten bored of this format once and still not forgotten about that. As a tale of manipulation, obsession, vulnerability and deceit in which no-one really comes out smelling of roses, it'd be easy to think that this film hates women, although since it's directed and co-written by females I think it's fairer to say that it just hates its own audience more.

But it's not only the structure of the film that's the problem here, but the type of performance which is inevitably required of the cast. Katherine Heigl's psycho-Vogue performance is so gratuitously hammy that there was a group of animal rights protesters outside the cinema. I know the film's meant to hold a creeping air of unease, but I'm fairly certain that's meant to come from the plot developments, rather than worrying if the cast will ever work again. I understand that this is essentially Heigl's default-level of movie these days of course, but what the hell was Rosario Dawson thinking? Okay, Trance had its issues, but it was at least interesting to watch. Unforgettable's director, Denise Di Novi, doesn't even have her name at the top of the end-credits. That could be a sign of professional humility but I suspect it's more likely to be embarrassment, hoping all the punters*2 will have filed silently out of the room by the time her own moniker floats across the screen.

In fact, given the mechanically linear nature of the story and the box-ticking 100 minute runtime, the only surprise was how bored I got waiting for the film to actually end. The only things that aren't a half-arsed love letter to 1990s trash thrillers are a) Facebook as a plot-device*3, b) the incessant Apple product-placement, and c) the excruciating R&B soundtrack. And for three things meant to lend a hackneyed screenplay some modern-relevance, they feel very much like a geography teacher telling his class he likes the new M&M album.

Perhaps worst of all (and despite my moaning), Unforgettable isn't even bad enough to be classed as A Bad Film. So it fails on that front, too.

By the way, if you're ever looking through someone's stolen phone and you see a file named "life ideas", I'm pretty certain that allows you to go ahead and kill them anyway.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Anything Channel 5 used to show after 11pm.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Cast, no.
Director, I certainly hope not although I haven't seen her other work

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Oh, I think I probably will.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Rosario Dawson provided voice-work for 2016's Ratchet & Clank movie, along with James Arnold 'Kenobi' Taylor and Jim 'a shitload of SW videogame voice-roles' Ward.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Okay, I have to confess that I'd already written the non-specific framework of this review based on the trailer alone. Not so much wilful prejudice as the fact that the promo-reel sells this film perfectly, and you just know it. [ BACK ]

*2 Four. At the first showing on the opening day of this movie, there were four people in the room. I know that's hardly the fault of the cast or crew, but still. Four. [ BACK ]

*3 It's perhaps worth noting that while the film is allowed to say Facebook, they actually show a sloppy facsimile of the site. Whether this is down to budgeting reasons or FB's brand-reputation management isn't clear. Also, the production can't seem to afford playing Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable, which was almost certainly a feature of the script at one stage. Why the hell else would the film be called that? [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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