Martin Campbell’s ‘Memory’ is an action thriller with a twist. Based on the novel ‘De Zaak Alzheimer’ by Jef Geeraerts ‘Memory’ is a remake of the novel’s previous adaptation, the Belgian film ‘The Alzheimer Case’. ‘Memory’ stars Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci, Harold Torres, Taj Atwal and Ray Fearon in pivotal roles.
Martin Campbell’s ‘Memory’ looks like a cat and mouse narrative at its core with the cat chasing the mouse and the mouse looking for the cat. Martin wastes no time and sets the tempo right from the word go.
Liam Neeson is Alex Lewis, an assassin, a contract killer who is top in his game. However, he is now wanting to not take up any assignment for atleast 2 reasons – he is getting old and is facing memory loss. A dialogue in the initial reels between Alex and a handler for a contract killing assignment makes things rather clear “people of our type cannot retire,” the handler says while handing him over a fat cover of money and the targets that Alex must eliminate. Alex being a pro finishes off his first victim in no time but feels for what he was doing. Also, he is worried about his losing memory and makes quick notes on his inner wrist / forearm; including the hotel room that he is put up in!
The narrative picks up when Alex is about to kill the second target but realises that she is a little girl all of 13 years of age, and he is against killing children. He goes back to his handler to get the contract undone and a warning that the girl must live. However, the employers get the girl eliminated somehow. This gets Alex into a revenge mode and wants to clean all those involved.
On the other hand, is Vincent Serra an FBI officer played by Guy Pearce, who also feels the heat as the girl killed is Beatrix (Mia Sanchez) whom he had saved from her pimp father, who gets killed in an action gone wrong by Vincent’s team. Vincent is hell bent in finding the people behind the killing and gathers that it’s a group of high-profile people involved. Monica Belluci plays the powerful Texas millionaire Davana Sealman who is obsessed with trying to prolong her own life and is complicit in an underage sex racket.
However, it is only Vincent and two of his mates – detective Linda Amistead (Taj Atwal) and detective Harold Torres (Hugo Marquez) who are interested in getting to the root but are tied down by the superiors.
The plot meanders on a perfunctory path where, despite having a weak memory, Alex’s reflexes do not fail him. For the most part, Alex is the typical action hero, quick on his reflexes. He easily outdoes his opponents, especially those who want the girl Beatrix dead.
Alex is astute and invincible, characteristic of Liam Neeson’s characters in films ever since his film ‘Taken’ except that here is with a little more regret and confusion.
Also, with Guy Pearce and Neeson sharing very little screen time, the film fails to capture the dynamics between the two of them.
While the screenplay is packed with action sequences with efficient mature individuals, the downfall of the narrative is that the actual Alzheimer’s angle does not play out as strongly as it should. Also, the narrative does not make use of the rich, illicit tapestry of child sex rings, illegal immigration, and political corruption, and thus the film falls short on many counts and makes the film appear a bit shallow.
Overall, Memory is typical of Liam Neeson films hence his fans know what to expect from it and it sure will not disappoint them.
Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci, Taj Atwal, Ray Fearon, Harold Torres, Ray Stevenson, Louis Mandylor, Stella Stocker, Natalie Anderson, Atanas Srebrev
Duration: 114 minutes