Plot: What’s it about?
Here it is again: Another Liam Neeson action flick. The tall, towering actor is bringing another set of skills to this role, but he’s also bringing a case of memory loss. Or at least something to that extent. While this won’t go down as one of his best films, it is still somehow worth seeing and has plenty under the hood. To say this is a busy film would be a grave understatement, but unlike another Neeson vehicle, Blacklight, which I also reviewed, this one held my interest. Directed by Martin Campbell who directed one of my top 5 James Bond films, Casino Royale. I was anxious to see what he could bring to this film.
Liam Neeson plays Alex Lewis. He is an expert assassin with retirement plans, but he accepts one last job anyway. While it isn’t told to us right away. We can gather that his memory is starting to fade. Items in his car aren’t there and he has resorted to jotting down important reminders with a pen on his arm. Despite this, we see him several times in the film showcase that he isn’t one to be messed with. What bothers Alex with this latest task is that he is asked to murder a young girl. This presents a problem for him, and he seek out those responsible and ask for the assignment to be called off. Things aren’t so simple, however, and soon Alex finds that he has people on his tail. If that sounds like enough for one film, Memory throws even more at us. I haven’t even touched on the Guy Pearce character. He is an agent, and he has ties to the young girl that Alex didn’t want to assassinate. There’s also Monica Bellucci as a woman with a lot of money and power, and her motives are eventually revealed. For a long while during Memory I was both engaged and somewhat frustrated. It was only a minor frustration, but I realized that the film had several early scenes where it seemed like each one introduced a new character with a new plot point. It never became confusing or overly convoluted, but I did wonder when the film would find its footing. Thankfully, it did, and I got more involved in what was going on, and the eventual outcome.
Unlike Neeson’s other film, Blacklight, this one was made with more skill. I realized only during the closing credits that this is a remake of a 2003 Belgian film. How closely it follows that film I can’t say, but that might be why it’s both, a busy film yet somehow still focused as well. This reminds me too of why I loved Campbell’s own Casino Royale. Based on the first James Bond novel, he had such great source material to work with. I do want to state that, while there are plenty of action moments and chases throughout the film, it isn’t your standard Liam Neeson action flick. That is for better-or-worse depending on your taste preferences. It won’t be remembered as one of my favorites of his, but I enjoyed the way the plot unfolded. It will probably be one that could benefit too from a second viewing where some of the pieces fit more neatly. There’s also a welcome unpredictable factor to it as well. It does take a while to fully reveal itself, but that also rather works in its favor. So, under the right expectations, the film earns a mild recommendation from me.
The Bottom Line
This is an interesting one, but Memory got enough right in my eyes. The first half hour throws a lot at the audience, and it can take a while to get to the meat of the story, but once it does, things begin to click. Go in with the right expectations and I feel you might enjoy this as I did.