Unsuccessfully framed for his wife's murder, Dr. David Krane attempts to find the real culprit by utilizing a new drug that allows him to experience the memories of other people first-hand. As he gets closer to the truth, the injections begin to take their toll on his life. Additionally, a history of alcoholism, a career crisis, and the involvement of police officers in the murder all conspire to prevent Dr. Crane from learning what really happened. The challenge, then, is for the doctor to overcome these obstacles before his time runs out.
'Unforgettable' is one of those 'high concept' movie ideas that can be pitched to a studio in a sentence or two. In this case, it's the premise of 'what if someone could experience someone else's memories'? The film brings together two of the late 90's better-known stars in the form of Ray Liotta and Linda Fiorentino, and peppers the rest of the cast with some strong character actors. While the film never quite gets off the ground (and died a quick death at the box office), it's not totally dismissible, either, and reminded me of those days where movies could be based on a single premise and didn't try to appeal across the board by adding lots of needless subplots. Yes, you can say a lot of bad things about this movie, but you can't say it's not focused.
After his success in GoodFellas, a lot of the 90s was spent trying to turn Ray Liotta in to a bankable leading male star. It never quite took, and 'Unforgettable' was one of the last big Hollywood productions that featured Liotta at the top of the cast list. As for co-star Linda Fiorentino, this was also a move to try and turn the actress into a big star, after receiving rave reviews for her performance in 'The Last Seduction', which was also directed by 'Unforgettable's man at the helm, John Dahl (who has left cinematic efforts to turn into one of the best directors working on TV).
'Unforgettable' tells the story of police detective David Krane (Liotta), who was accused of murdering his wife, but got off on a technicality. When he finds a clue at a new murder scene that matches one found during his wife's murder, Krane becomes obsessed once again with finding the real killer. It just so happens (one of 'Unforgettable's biggest problems is the convenience of many plot points that exist to serve the overall story) that Krane is due to attend a fund raising dinner for local scientist Martha Briggs (Fiorentino) who is researching an experimental drug that may allow humans to share the memories of other people when it is mixed with a blood sample from that person. Krane is instantly interested and sets up a meeting with her at her lab, where he volunteers to be the first human subject. Of course, she refuses, and Krane winds up breaking into her lab, stealing the drug, and injecting himself with it.
The drug works, providing Krane with a point-of-view look at his wife's death. The problem is, however, that with each new injection of the drug, damage is done to his heart – meaning each and every time he uses it, his ongoing health becomes more and more threatened. Krane winds up not only using his wife's blood and Briggs' drug for his wife's memories, but a blood sample from a suspect. It's here that Krane learns that taking the drug can also put you temporarily inside of the mind of a madman, acting out their rage in addition to learning their memories. It's a concept that the movie explores and just as quickly dismisses – which is a shame, since it was one of the most interesting side effects.
The biggest issue with 'Unforgettable' is neither the concept of the film nor the actors involved in it. It's the need the movie seems to have to fall into standard cop-thriller clichés, such as providing viewers with a list of suspects close to Krane who may be responsible for the crime and – naturally – the revelation that the person who seems least likely to have committed it is actually the killer. The climax of the movie also includes what Roger Ebert used to call the 'Fallacy of the Talking Killer' – a extended moment where the main bad guy, instead of just killing our heroes, takes the time to explain all the devious things he has done, which – of course – gives our lead characters time to figure their way out of the situation.
Critics were pretty hard on 'Unforgettable' back during its original theatrical run, and the movie bombed at the box office, making a quick exit from movie houses. Yet, I can't say I really hated this movie…it's watchable enough, and while Liotta is by no means a powerhouse of charisma as the leading man here, he doesn't do anything to embarrass himself. If you’re a fan of either of the leads or the premise captures your interest, I think 'Unforgettable' is worth at least one viewing.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Unforgettable' arrives on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber in a standard Elite keepcase, which holds the single-sided 25GB disc and no inserts. There are no front-loaded trailers on the Blu-ray, whose menu is a still image of one of the movie poster designs (different from the box cover) that shows an eye, with different images from the movie inside it.
The Blu-ray is Region A-locked.
In my limited experience with Kino Lorber Blu-rays, I think it's fair to say that the transfers have been pretty hit or miss. A large part of that is due to the fact that Kino isn't the one doing the actually transfer of the film to the digital format – it's the studio that is giving them the distribution rights, in this case, 20th Century Fox. 'Unforgettable's transfer is a pleasant one – retaining the look of film, while still providing some nice visual details and sharpness.
The picture is nicely free from any major instances of dirt and/or debris, although plenty of grain (and an occasional hint of noise) is apparent in most shots. Colors here are nice and vibrant, without ever being oversaturated, and skintones are consistent and natural looking. Black levels aren't super inky, but they're decent enough that they never present a problem for viewers.
Overall, this is a pleasant viewing experience that may not necessarily 'wow', but retains the original look of the theatrical release.
Wow, is the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for 'Unforgettable' aggressive, and more often than not to the detriment of the presentation. Aside from some enhanced echoing of voices that take place during some of the drug-induced memories that the main character goes through, virtually all of the spoken word comes through the front center speaker. However, the surround mix can be so loud that if the spoken word isn't being drowned out, it's so low during quieter scenes that I found myself constantly changing the volume on my remote. In other words, the mix here could have been better.
With the above in mind, the 5.1 track really adds some kick to this film in terms of amping up both the musical soundtrack and many of the ambient sounds. This is definitely one of the more immersive feeling Kino releases I've encountered to date. The track includes some nice LFE effects as well, and while the dialogue is a few notches lower than everything else, I didn't notice any glitches aside from how the track was mixed. Keep in mind this sort of sound mixing isn't anything new for Blu-ray (Sony releases seem to do it all the time, particularly for their big action releases), so many may not notice anything wrong with this track at all. Regardless, it's still impressive for a catalogue release – particularly one from Kino Lorber.
In addition to the 5.1 DTS-HD track, a 2.0 DTS-HD English track is also available. Subtitles are available in English.
'Unforgettable' isn't quite that, nor is it all that dismissible either. There's an interesting idea here, but the movie goes on for a little too long and falls into too many familiar police thriller clichés to really be considered a 'good' film. However, the movie is filled with some solid character actors, and the premise is just whacky enough to make this one worth checking out, even if it's just so you can say you've seen it.