Unforgettable is an easy, one-time watch that doesn’t particularly stick with you after the credits roll.
Unforgettable follows Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) as she moves in with her new fiancé and adapts to her new life and role as step-mum. As a jealous ex-wife and dark pasts begin to emerge her perfect new life starts to crumble.
The premise of this film was very promising. Unforgettable exhibits a simple and straightforward storyline that revolves around the typical themes you’d expect to find in a thriller – past mistakes, troublesome exes and a new start to name but a few. Due to this and its amiable cast, the film does deliver an easy-to-watch, relatively entertaining experience. However, one of the most notable things about this film’s narrative was its over-saturation of ‘key’ plot points. To put it simply, there is too much going on at once meaning that the story’s detail feels rushed despite the fact that the pacing of the overall film is quite slow. More often than not, moments of anticipation are weakened by a rushed climax and a seemingly lazy resolution leaving the viewer dissatisfied and yearning for more. Many of these plot points are innovative and could have been captivating in the overall progression of the narrative had they been developed further so it is a shame that so much is included in a fairly short runtime of 100 minutes.
A main source of drama for the film comes from the two female leads’ backstories. Once again, these are interesting and unique but underdeveloped and incorporated into the story in a heavy-handed, manner. To give credit where due, Julia’s backstory is revealed bit by bit through the use of flashbacks which does give the film a layer of subtle artistry. On the other hand, Tessa’s childhood experiences are portrayed through a few lines of dialogue between Julia and her friend and could have been approached in a different way in order to make the revelation more shocking. By simply telling the audience what had occurred in Tessa’s past, the drama and mystery surrounding her is diminished.
It is refreshing to see Katherine Heigl tackle a new type of role following her string of romantic comedy leads and whilst not giving the best performance of contemporary cinema, she is actually remarkably creepy in this role. From the look in her eyes to her tone of voice, Heigl does know how to make an audience feel uncomfortable and is was not out of her depth in this role. The performances from the rest of the cast are on par, not excellent but by no means abominable or deserving of harsh criticism.
Another downside of this film is its overbearing soundtrack and score. This film is definitely lacking in the suspense expected from a thriller and in a bid to make up for what the action couldn’t provide, the score is excessively loud and intense, a clear attempt to incite the feeling of unease within the audience. This could have worked if it wasn’t for the lack of real drama or tension in the action sequence it accompanies. Whilst the songs fit quite well with the tone and style of the film, many scenes appear to have a soundtrack overlay just for the sake of it and at times this becomes more distracting than immersive.
Not all is bad though, the cinematography and camerawork of this film is very interesting. Voyeuristic, point of view shots work well in bringing the viewer into the fictional world and creating a growing sense of unease, something as mentioned before, the story fails to execute. This is heightened when juxtaposed with the film’s luxurious, modern setting. The city and architecture of the film are very aesthetically pleasing, creating a strong contrast with the intrusive camera shots and Tessa’s ‘ugly’ personality.
Unforgettable is an easy, one-time watch that doesn’t particularly stick with you after the credits roll (one must note the irony of the statement due to the film’s title) and falls short in terms of suspense and thrills. Whilst the film does bear some similarity to the likes of Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) and Misery (1990) it fails to live up to the classic thriller status. The film is by no means a disaster and could easily be enjoyed by many spectators but equally, it is no masterpiece and does have some notable flaws.
Unforgettable (2017), directed by Denise Di Novi, is distributed by Warner Bros., Certificate 15.