Movie review: Memory
Liam Neeson fights a sense of deja-vu as he plays a character seeking to settle a score while fighting a failing mind. Thanks to the addition of Guy Pearce as the FBI foil, the manly tango makes an impression.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Running time: 1hr 45 mins
In theatres April 29.
On Prime Video Now.
By Katherine Monk
If I told you this is an action movie starring Liam Neeson as a bad-ass outlaw who tries to help an innocent girl free herself from the clutches of organized crime, you’d probably think Memory may already be a memory. We’ve seen so much of the handsome actor slugging his way through the scenery, Memory looks like another entry in the Missing series, or The Marksman, or some other vengeance story that unfurls at the end of a long gun and short cliche. But it’s not — not really. Because while Memory does contain a lot of the same ingredients as every recent Neeson movie — guns, thugs and an emotional hitman — it also stars the likes of Guy Pearce as an FBI agent, and features the direction of Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale).
…Neeson’s character isn’t a blinding ray of light purifying everything around him through sheer will power and clenched fists. This time, Neeson is part of the dirt, and the only thing that’s putting him back on the good path is the prospect of a dying mind.
This puts Memory on a slightly higher plane than Neeson’s baseline thrillers because it’s actually going for character development and moral dimension. Based on a novel by Jef Geeraerts, the film pulls us into the vortex of cross-border child sex trafficking and corruption along the US-Mexico border. Offering up ultra-wealthy real estate developers with weak moral compasses, trust-fund brats with bad habits and thoroughly corrupt law enforcement officers indebted to local business leaders, Memory seethes with evil deeds and evil-doers motivated by nothing more than greed and a lust for power. And for once, Neeson’s character isn’t a blinding ray of light purifying everything around him through sheer will power and clenched fists.
At the top of the film, we learn our de facto hero is struggling with memory issues. He’s a hitman with Alzheimers Disease — and before everything in his mind goes milkywhite, he yearns for justice. But like a failing mind, and a failing
civilization, the road to righteousness gets washed out with the rising tide of denial and disinformation. Only a strong swimmer could vanquish such a rip tide of destruction, and this is one reel where no one seems naturally buoyant — making for a laborious, if successful, swim against the chop of cliche.
THE EX-PRESS, April 29, 2022