Title: Gone, But Not Forgotten
Writer & Director: Michael D. Akers
Starring: Aaron Orr, Matthew Montgomery and Joel Bryant
Distributers: United Gay Network
Amazon Buy/Watch Link
Country of Origin/Language: USA/English
Rating: Unrated (Mature themes)
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Lasha
Rugged forest ranger Drew Parker’s (Aaron Orr) lonely existence changes forever when he rescues Mark (Matthew Montgomery), a man who suffers amnesia after a seemingly innocent fall from a cliff. Sparks fly between Drew and Mark as their friendship turns into a passionate romance. Their newfound romantic bliss is shattered when the truth about Mark’s accident is revealed and his former life tries to reclaim him.
There are two reactions I have seen over the years when I have shown this movie to friends: love or loathing. Personally, I love it. Amnesia is a favorite trope of mine and it is used in this film perfectly. Drew, the hot Forest Ranger, falls for Mark the amnesiac in like two seconds and they immediately begin a relationship. While some people might call Drew clingy, possessive and unrealistic, I prefer to call him romantic, hopeful and a dreamer. Mark, on the other hand, is harder to figure out. He’s a man in flux. He has no idea about his former life until the end of the movie and even though he has feelings for Drew, he is hesitant to get serious because he knows his new life with Drew might be torn from him. So Mark is constantly vacillating between being with Drew and not being with Drew.
However, Drew and Mark’s relationship is not the only one which I find fascinating in the film. The other one is between Drew and his brother, Paul. Paul is a fellow Forest Ranger. Actually, he’s Drew boss, and raised Drew after their parents were killed in a tragic accident on the lake they live on. As with a lot of brothers, their relationship is fraught with misunderstandings and old hurts. Many of these issues are what have kept Drew isolated and lonely in the small town they live in, and I think that is why he latches onto Mark so quickly. He wants someone to love, a partner like his parents and Paul have. Unfortunately, when Mark’s former life comes crashing into their world, along with Mark’s wife, this breaks Drew’s heart. But in the end, this event is a blessing in disguise because it pushes Drew to grow up and make new dreams and plans, instead of falling back into old habits.
I will be completely honest, as a supporter of gay, independent filmmaking, yes, this film does have it detractors. It’s made on a shoe-string budget, the secondary characters are not fully developed and one of them is so bad, I laugh every time she comes on screen. Add in some cheesy soap-opera dialogue and you could have a stinker of a movie. But for some reason, that is not the case with Gone, But Not Forgotten. I <3 this movie, and let me explain why.
First, what this movie does have and have in spades is heart. From each frame, from each song, you can tell the writer/director, Michael D. Akers lovingly crafted this film together with his producing partner, Sandon Berg. The cast and crew stayed inside the cabin that was used as Drew’s home in the movie — all of them stayed in the one cabin. Matthew and Aaron shared a room! (Tell me what big name Hollywood actors would share a queen sized bed in order to save on costs so a movie could get made?)
Second, the scenery is beautiful. Shot in Pomona, CA and Yosemite National Park, the setting is really the third person in this love story. I think it adds depth to the plot and makes the viewer understand Drew’s loneliness in that vast wilderness.
Third, if I were going to put my hard-earned money down and take a chance on an indie film, I take my chances with this one. Why? Because of the two leads, Aaron Orr and Matthew Montgomery. They quietly sizzle together. And that’s what this movie is about to me, their chemistry, it’s natural, not forced, not over-acted. Yes, Matthew Montgomery is not going to win an Oscar anytime soon, but in this genre (gay-themed indie films), he is the reigning king. And personally, I adore the guy. Really. I own all his movies. The good ones, the okay ones and the ones that are so bad I only have because Matthew’s naked and kissing another guy in them. Yes, I am that shallow. (P.S. You probably will be seeing more reviews of Matthew’s movies from me. :evilgrin: )
While the plot for Gone, But Not Forgotten isn’t new, but still who doesn’t love a good amnesiac story in a romance movie? The plotline of this film could come out of any Harlequin Romance novel, however, what this film has that a Harlequin Romance novel doesn’t is a talented cast and a superbly directed script. For a ‘low-budget’ indie film, I think this one is quite engaging and compelling.
In the end, I really like this cheesy little independent film about an amnesiac guy who falls for a hunky forest ranger. While the plot might be a bit clichéd and the acting needs some work in places, I think the film has heart and deserves a look.