A gritty misfire, The Forgotten details the exploits of several impoverished youths living in Mexico City and their continuing efforts at making a meager life for themselves. Filmmaker Luis Buñuel has certainly infused The Forgotten with an unsentimental, down-to-earth feel that’s reflected in its various attributes, and yet there’s just never a point at which the picture is able to justify its feature-length running time (ie the film, for the most part, feels like a decent short that’s been awkwardly expanded to 85 minutes). The overt lack of sympathetic protagonists plays an instrumental role in preventing the viewer from embracing the material, as The Forgotten features a raft of characters that run the gamut from merely one-dimensional to flat-out unlikable – with the latter especially true of the movie’s villain (Roberto Cobo’s El Jaibo), who beats up a blind musician and legless vagrant (and almost rapes a young girl!) Buñuel’s directorial restraint, which admittedly suits the low-key screenplay, perpetuates the less-than-engrossing atmosphere, and it’s clear, ultimately, that The Forgotten’s most compelling sequence arrives in the form of an unabashedly Buñuellian dream sequence (ie perhaps the film might’ve benefited from a more stylized atmosphere). By the time the meandering (and, quite frankly, endless) final stretch rolls around, The Forgotten has cemented its place as a far-from-classic drama that’s lost whatever cache it may have once possessed (and this is to say nothing of the emphasis on hard-to-watch acts of animal cruelty).
* out of ****