Brooke Shields in Gone But Not Forgotten (2005)

Shielded from the Truth

After winning a case where an abused woman killed her husband defence lawyer Betsy Tannenbaum (Brooke Shields - What Makes a Family) is making a name for herself. It brings her to the attention of Tycoon businessman Martin Darius (Scott Glenn - The Shipping News) who shows up at her rented office with a cheque for $100,000 to put her on retainer, just in case he needs to call on her services. And before the week is out he does just that when the bodies of 3 missing women all connected to him show up at one of his construction sites and he finds himself arrested for their murder.

Now that is a seriously shortened version of what goes on during the first half of "Gone But Not Forgotten" and during this opening there is also a friendly rivalry set up between Betsy and D.A. Alan Page played by Lou Diamond Phillips. I know what this sounds like, it sounds like that after this set up we get a courtroom drama as Betsy and her team which also includes Reggie a private detective played by Joe Morton manage to discover evidence to clear Martin. But I haven't mentioned something else as "Gone But Not Forgotten" is in fact a 3 hour movie, one of those special TV movies which often get played over two nights because they are so long. As such whilst the first 90 minutes sets up a traditional movie the final 90 minutes then takes us on a ride which to be frank ends up extremely convoluted. I won't go into detail but things about Martin's past, his connection to a Senator, more murders and revelations over a detective who worked a case 10 years earlier which is connected all merge to take us on a merry dance.

Lou Diamond Phillips in Gone But Not Forgotten (2005)

As I said the second half of "Gone But Not Forgotten" is seriously convoluted as things we learnt during the first half turn out not to be as simple as they first seem. But ironically whilst it undeniably becomes far fetched and at times cringe worthingly cliche the fact that it twists and turns all over the place keeps you watching. That is unless you have ventured on to a well known movie website and browsed the cast list as if you have you will have spotted something which is likely to ruin the mystery and it is that mystery more than anything which makes relinquishing 3 hours of your life worthwhile.

Aside from that well to be honest director Armand Mastroianni handles this convoluted movie quite nicely, never allowing it to rest for long enough so that you start to ponder what is really going on. By keeping it ticking over some of the far fetched scenes, and there are quite a few, are easy to skim over which is certainly a good thing as it builds to the big climax. And on the subject of the climax, if you haven't worked out what is what it all falls into place at around the 150 minute mark.

And so I reach the sticky subject of the acting and there are plenty of recognizable faces in "Gone But Not Forgotten" even if the names are not immediately familiar. Some of the acting is quite good with Scott Glenn giving us creepy and sinister as Martin Darius whilst Lou Diamond Phillips does kind and determined as Alan Page. But then there is Brooke Shields and frankly for the first 90 minutes I thought Shields performance as a defence lawyer was one of the least convincing performances I have witnessed but to Shields credit during the second half she comes good as her character becomes more dynamic and looking less like she is on the verge of crying in every scene. Also a bit of a let down was Marilu Henner as Nancy a detective who worked a case from 10 years earlier as her facial expressions are so over the top it borders on the comical.

What this all boils down to is that "Gone But Not Forgotten" is a 3 hour movie with lots of issues especially a convoluted storyline. But ironically it still manages to suck you in as you need to know what is what and who is behind the murders.