Liam Neeson drives the same car the Schindler’s List actor has been stereotypical for since his 2010 release Taken. “Memory” belongs to the same evil world, but where Neeson isn’t an ex-cop, but an assassin who abides by a code and makes a living from the gun. The nature of the work may not differ from that of a mercenary, but he still holds certain human values, and that makes a big difference. Over the years, Neeson has built up this image of a wounded lion lurking in the shadows, perhaps not as agile as he once was, but still having the ferocity to bring down even the mightiest of men. Even when the actor performs roles with distinctive shades of gray, there is a certain distinction inherent in his calm demeanor. Audiences always believe that beneath the violent and criminal exterior there is a virtuous side that would sooner or later make him undo the consequences of his actions. It also serves as a spoiler at times, because you know the story will develop based on the image Neeson has created for himself over the years, thus removing that element of surprise from the scheme of things.
Memory is a remake of the 2003 Belgian crime thriller The Memory of a Killer and is based on the novel De Zaak Alzheimer by Jef Geeraerts. The film is directed by Martin Campbell and stars Liam Neeson, Monica Bellucci, Guy Pearce, Taj Atwal and Harold Torres.
Alex Lewis is one of the deadliest assassins in El Paso, Texas. He generally works on a contract basis, and this time he’s been hired by someone who’s not only powerful but also desperate to cover his tracks. It’s a dark and devious world out there, and people have two faces. Nobody could be trusted. Alex knows this, and that’s why he lives a secluded life with no strings attached. He finally wants to retire and tells his partner the same. But there is one last task that needs to be done, and Alex has the responsibility to do the same. Alex had Alzheimer’s disease and used to write details of his goals on his forearm. It was extremely difficult for him to function properly. There were times when he woke up not knowing where he was or what he was up to.
Vincent Serra, an FBI agent, was investigating a child trafficking matter. He’d gotten a lead and started a thorough investigation. He visited as a client the home of a man he believed to be part of the trafficking network. The man offered Serra his daughter’s services in exchange for money and left her in a bedroom. 13-year-old daughter Beatriz Leon accidentally discovered that Vincent Serra wore a microphone and was an FBI agent. She yells for her father, who gets into a scuffle with Serra. They fall out of the window and the father dies. The daughter is taken to a detention center. Feeling sorry for the unfortunate girl, Serra makes arrangements to place her in foster care where she will not be confined as in a detention center. Alex Lewis was given the job of killing Beatriz Leon, but little did he know that she was just a 13-year-old girl. He doesn’t kill her, but he learns that someone else killed the girl after leaving the crime scene.
Davana Sealman, a wealthy and influential businesswoman, was involved in the whole human trafficking business. Alex might have been an assassin, but he had a moral compass. His conscience did not allow him to let the powerful act according to their whims and whims. He wanted to expose her. He knew Davana’s son was involved in the trafficking and abuse of underage girls. He had the evidence he felt was sufficient to find her guilty in court. He wanted to contact Vincent Serra and give him the details. But there were two problems. Firstly, he was being hunted down by the police himself, and secondly, he was finding it increasingly difficult to remember anything due to his rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s disease. He had evidence that could incriminate the perpetrators, but he’d forgotten where he’d hidden it. He develops an unlikely bond with Vincent Serra, who patiently waits for him to remember the details and also protects him from the local police.
Memory refrains, perhaps intentionally, from becoming a pulsating thriller. Its narrative slowly burns and takes us to the climax, but loses its power on more than one occasion. With the protagonist suffering from Alzheimer’s, writing details on his forearms, and with Guy Pearce at the helm of the business, it becomes impossible not to find traces of Nolan’s “Memento” in the script. But “Memory” lacks the depth that such a story demands. Martin Campbell’s intention is spot on, but the narrative lacks those details that completely swallow you up in the world. Liam Neeson is portrayed as almost invincible in his role as an assassin, which in turn becomes difficult for viewers to digest. The ease and ease with which Alex Lewis goes about his business makes it not only unconvincing but also easy. The problem is that the film isn’t as stylish as Taken, nor does it delve into the intricacies of human trafficking, fluttering somewhere between the clearly defined styles of execution. The acting performances are effective, even if the actors don’t get much to devour. Cinematography by David Tattersall and editing by Jo Francis manage to build a somber and somber atmosphere that desperately tries to pull the narrative out of the shallows. It tries to replicate a formula and tries to be serious in its approach.
But “Memory” just ceases to be like a record made up of characters that aren’t fully baked and a script that lacks authentic flavors.
“Memory” is a 2022 drama thriller film directed by Martin Campbell.