The picture lacks cohesion from the outset, and it adopts an unruly approach to delivering a delicate or emotional story about sexual exploitation.
Taken, Liam Neeson‘s first official foray into this new phase of his career was released in 2009. It may not seem like it was 13 years ago because Liam Neeson has starred in a remake of the same picture every year since then, and the number of remakes has been increasing in recent years. Memory, directed by Martin Campbell from a scenario by Dario Scardapane and based on the novel De Zaak Alzheimer (The Alzheimer Case), stars Liam Neeson as an elderly assassin who begins to lose his memories and who possesses a unique set of skills and desires to hunt down evil guys. Although the plot appears to be simple, the film takes an imbalanced method of dealing with a delicate or emotional issue like sex trafficking.
The first 30 minutes reveal a lot about memory. A hit guy named Alex (Neeson) is hired by a criminal organization to eliminate a few key witnesses and players. Guy Pearce’s Vincent Sera, an FBI agent on a mission to stop human trafficking, crosses paths with this contract. One crucial witness ties the two, whom Vincent wishes to save and whom Alex is hired to kill. In Memory, two competing storylines compete for the audience’s attention. There’s Alex, the memory-impaired executioner, and then there’s a wider drama about some serious concerns.
The film is riddled with clichés and tropes. Guy Pearce portrays the uptight FBI agent, whereas Taj Atwal portrays the foul-mouthed and caustic lone-woman agent. Ray Fearon portrays a tough-guy Black agent who sabotages Vincent’s career by interfering in FBI politics. Harold Torres plays a Mexican agent who frequently and freely employs a particular profanity. Ray Stevenson portrays a drab El Paso cop, while Natalie Anderson portrays an alcoholic trophy wife. No one feels real because the characters are all caricatures. Monica Belluci’s Davana Sealman is the only engaging character in the film, aside from Liam Neeson’s Alzheimer’s-ridden assassin. Sealman is a wealthy philanthropist who has unintentionally become involved with a sex trafficking ring.
To grab the audience’s interest, memory is too straightforward and formulaic. The film might easily have been divided into two sections, with the first following Alex as he fights an unfair contract while suffering from memory loss. The story of sex trafficking is thin and unconvincing. It’s all too common and familiar. The film is around two hours long, but due to its uneven pacing, paper-thin dialogue, lifeless characters, and botched story, it feels overlong and overbearing.
Campbell‘s direction in this film, unfortunately, will never equal that of Casino Royale. His directing on Memory, as skilled as he is as a filmmaker, lacks any creative flair or drive, and it feels pretty average. People will know exactly what to expect if memory is limited to a summary. This is preferable because they will not be expecting anything spectacular.
On April 29, Memory was released in theaters. The film is rated R for violence, graphic images, and profanity and runs for 114 minutes.