Memory Review : Liam Neeson's Chilling Performance In A Cold Thriller

Memory Review : Liam Neeson's Chilling Performance In A Cold Thriller
Starring: Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci, Taj Atwal, Ray Fearon, Harold Torres
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Genre: Action/Thriller
Duration: 1h 54m

An assassin suffering from Alzheimers tries to piece together a murder before his memory fades away. The criminal organization he works for starts targeting him upon knowing his intentions and the cop working on the murder case too chases the assassin.

What works for Film?

1) Performance

Liam Neeson is incredible while delivering action sequences. Liam Neeson gets a bit more complex role than others. He is known to play a leading hero with a strong moral compass who has plot armor.
'Memory' does not give him that. Instead, we see a character with a lot more layers who tries to move on from his past but instead runs into it.

Guy Pearce slips into the role with ease. We see Memory from his lens as he pieces together a complicated murder. Pearce's arc gives an edge to the story, it builds for a high-stakes situation. His dynamics with Liam Neeson's Alex is intriguing to watch.

Monica Bellucci's character is designed to be mysterious and dimensional. She blends with the narrative so well, that every time she is on the screen there is a sense of intrigue. There are some instances where her dialogues pull the audience back into the story when the pacing slows it down.

Taj Atwal is convincing in her part. She doesn't have the best dialogues or is set up for something big, but whatever is in her path. She turns it into a stirring performance. 

2)Concept on paper!

The premise on paper is phenomenal, and even though the execution in some parts falls a bit flat; it still compensates for the good conceptualization. The story is riveting. The technical elements add mysticism. Director Martin Campbell has made sure to set a world of chaos and repeated patterns. We try to figure out this world with Alex and in many sequences challenge our brain to solve the conundrum.

3) Duration.

It's less than two hours so it doesn't waste time on backstory and subplots. It is mostly linear which turns out to be an important thread while solving this mesh of wires. The story doesn't sidetrack from its premise too, it delivers only the information important for the plot.

What doesn't work for the film?

1) Lackluster execution

However good the premise is, the execution is lackluster. The story on the surface is good at building the tension, but not for long as the screenplay falls apart. The camera shots are jarring in some parts, and in other scenes, it's tough to keep up because we don't know exactly what we are looking for. The dialogues don't help either, most of them either glorify the main character or gloat at trivial complexities. 

2)Non-uniform style of storytelling.

In Martin Campbell's film, we don't know what narrative device he opts for. Sometimes 'Memory' appears to be chronological, other times we are stuck in figuring out the framing of the story. The motivations are established well but the stream of consciousness is tough to decipher for any character. Probably this was done to add suspense or maybe dabble into the thriller genre more, but it ends up being neither at times.

Worth the watch or skippable?

Powerful performance elevates the premise, but slow pacing tests our patience. It has good potential but that doesn't translate well on screen. Watch this movie for Liam Neeson, he is incredible in this role.

Stars : ⭐⭐/5