Sometimes you just want to shut off your brain for a couple of hours and watch some mindless entertainment, and fans of Liam Neeson will likely enjoy his latest crime thriller, “Memory.”
A remake of the 2003 Belgian film “The Memory of a Killer,” the story revolves around Alex (Neeson), an expert assassin living with early-stage Alzheimer’s. His memory isn’t what it used to be as he often gets confused, which isn’t a great thing for a career hitman. When he’s hired to kill a young teenager who is a protected witness to a crime, Alex refuses. He then becomes a target to some of the worst humans imaginable, and the man races against the clock to hunt down and kill the people who hired him before a determined FBI agent (Guy Pearce) gets to him first.
It’s a surprisingly good story about morality and justice, with a solid revenge angle. Alex is no saint, so it’s easy to cheer for him as he picks off the bad guys one by one. The child sex trafficking subplot is a little uncomfortable, and the sudden violence is sometimes startling. This is a bloody, R-rated thriller.
The supporting performances (Taj Atwal, Monica Bellucci) are lacking, but it doesn’t affect the film much. Although Neeson is nearing the end of his career, it’s a lead role that’s perfect for him. He’s believable, oddly sympathetic, and tough as nails. In other words, this is Neeson doing what Neeson does best, and it’s one of his better performances (and movies) in recent memory. Pearce is as terrific as always as an emotionally tortured Fed, and his performance is the highlight here.
There’s enough compelling material to keep things moving along, and the ending is an especially good one. “Memory” isn’t destined to become a classic, but it’s a satisfying indulgence.
By: Louisa Moore