Yeah, I Watched UNFORGETTABLE / by B. Roche


I rented Unforgettable from Redbox on Sunday, and it's taken me until tonight to finally finish it. So you're getting a review.

For my first couple sit-downs, I was really trying, but I couldn't get to the halfway mark. I had read a couple reviews that suggested Unforgettable wasn't pulpy or outrageous enough for its own good. I love the "erotic" thrillers of the 80s and 90s, but why would a producer of Tim Burton's movies (Denise Di Novi) make a movie like that? The incongruity, and seeming failure, made me very curious. I had to keep that disc and get to the bottom of things.

5 days and $12 later, I completed my Unforgettable journey. Chipping away at it a little every night, I became struck by the sheer femaleness of the film. Denise Di Novi makes her directorial debut here. I checked her IMDb, and Di Novi hasn't worked with Tim Burton since the 90s. She has however produced far more movies with female leads, in particular many of the Nicholas Sparks adaptations. The film was written by Christina Dodson. They're using an iconic thriller dynamic to look at relationships between women.

For example, the company where Rosario Dawson's character works has a majority female staff, and the CEO is a woman (It's great to see comedian Whitney Cummings in an acting role, but as Dawson's boss/friend she has to deliver a lot of exposition, an excessive amount, like another thriller's equivalent of a desperate Google search, and doesn't get to really go for it, comedy- or acting-wise). Di Novi (and her cinematographer, the great Caleb Deschanel) shoots great lingering close-ups of both Dawson and Katherine Heigl, where we get to see them go through wide ranges of emotion and make decisions. Their characters' homes are shot with a lot of texture and personal detail, and we get the sense that they, not a set decorator, chose ever embroidered throw pillow and stick of oak furniture. Their wardrobes have a lot of comfort items - cozy sweaters, flowing robes - a man wouldn't pick for them. The lead male character (Dawson's fiancé, Heigl's ex) is incredibly nice and understanding, and a great father. As a psycho-sadistic punishment, Heigl cuts off her daughter's long hair. Not something I would think of. And the ending delivers a villain death with a simultaneous villain empathy, and almost redemption, that I don't think I've ever seen before.

Unforgettable could have used more pizazz (tilt that camera! Darken those shadows! Tune up the string section!). The sloth from Zootopia has quicker pacing. But given the above, I'm not sure how interested Di Novi and Dodson were in making an actual thriller. Their goal was to show two women rivals come to a mutual understanding. They got there. I will keep an eye out for their next films.