Paul McGann and Zara Turner in Forgotten (1999)

Memories & Murder

It's a quite day in the village of Little Hambling as the fete goes on and children play, but when a group of little girls go running into the woods one of them disappears. As the police start the search the mysterious Rachel Monroe (Amanda Burton - A Casualty of War) shows up who whilst unable to take her eyes off of book shop owner Ben turner (Paul McGann - Downtime) who with his also runs a guest housewife is a little uneasy around him. As the police discover the body of the missing child in the reservoir with signs of strangulation Ben's daughter Emmy (Karis Copp) shows signs of strange behaviour especially during class when the school teacher mentions the dead child's name whilst Ben receives a series of strange letters asking "What did you do with the body"? The question is who is behind the child's murder and what is Rachel's involvement in this situation.

So let me say up front that "Forgotten" was originally shows as a three part mini-series each episode at just under an hour which means that watched as a whole this comes in at around the 162 minute mark. Now "Forgotten" is a typically British movie which has the same style of one of those British detective series but with it running to almost 3 hours has a lot more time to breathe, to set up characters, make you think and wonder as to what is what? It also means that unlike American mini-series there is no over the top acting or action but more quiet, considered acting which trust me isn't going to be everyone's taste.

Amanda Burton in Forgotten (1999)

Anyway during the first hour of "Forgotten" it takes us into familiar territory with a charming little English village which gets rocked by a child going missing then the body being found with signs of having been murdered. But where as often this sort of movie would be driven by a determined detective instead we have a handful of characters that lead the drama and are central to the mystery. But the mystery is not just a simple case of who is behind the murder of the little girl but also the mystery surrounding the character of Rachel and whether she is involved or if not what her issues with Ben are as she has an ominous sense about her.

Now I could reveal certain things to you, who the suspects could be and what other characters are involved but firstly that would spoil things if you haven't watched it yet and to be honest take too long. But to be honest I found myself suspecting certain things very quickly including who I felt was behind the murder of the child and whilst occasionally I found myself questioning what I thought thanks to a twist, and there are a fair few, in the end what I suspected was right.

The thing is that even if you do pick up on certain things the direction and pacing is so perfect that you want to keep on watching just to make sure you are right. But you also want to keep watching because of the acting which throughout is very good especially from Paul McGann who not only manages to create this mystery surrounding his character but also a sense of vulnerability of a man being backed in to a corner by faces from his past. At the same time Amanda Burton is just as good creating a truly ominous presence especially during the first hour as we are unaware of her reasons for coming to the village.

What this all boils down to is that "Forgotten" is a pretty special British mini-series which takes a not too unusual storyline but gives it time to grow, to create mystery, to create characters and a lot more. It is at times slow and the more observant watcher will pick up on clues very early on but it is involving with good performances and a wonderful sense of mystery.