Memory – Film Review

Liam Neeson’s back again, in an action thriller full of blazing guns and dead bodies. I groaned too when I heard the premise of Memory, thinking “Great, another run of the mill, one dimensional Neeson action story”, but Memory is actually a little more than that. But only a little.

Set in Texas, Neeson stars as Alex, a highly skilled hitman who works for the Mexican cartel. When Alex refuses a job to kill a trafficked child who is a witness, he becomes a target and must go on the run to save himself, not only from the cartel, but also the FBI, with agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) hot on his tail. To throw a spanner in the works, Alex is suffering severe memory loss due to a medical condition, which is what makes this film that little bit different, and an interesting spin on the genre.

Liam Neeson is his usual Neeson action vehicle self. We’ve seen it all before in the likes of Taken, Run All Night, and The Marksman to mention a few. Otherwise, we’d be here all day! But I did like how he portrayed the memory loss element of the story. It’s small things that keep adding up and we really see his character Alex start to struggle towards the end of the film, making notes on his arm to not forget anything.

Australia’s Guy Pearce stars as Agent Vincent Serra. His performance is strong and determined, but his character is also friendly and kind to the victims, as well as his fellow agents, and you can feel a genuine friendliness and respect. Pierce is also by far the standout performance of the film.

Storyline wise, Memory was quite fun and interesting, based on a book called The Alzheimer Case. With a long line of characters that keep you guessing as to who is involved with what, Memory is very engaging, although at times, a little predictable, I still enjoyed the plot and the cat and mouse game between Alex and Vincent. While the story flowed well and a little on the long side, I wish the characters could have been a little more fleshed out and given some more back story. 

Visually there’s not too much to write home about, the cinematography is quite basic, almost giving me telemovie vibes. While it is set in a city, we didn’t get many sweeping views of the city or other locations, just lots of cuts between different scenes and locations. Scenes are often dark and gritty, with a lot of the film taking place under the cover of night. I felt it was just lacking a little visually, but that may be down to the budget or filming conditions (probably being shot in studios during Covid).

My biggest gripe with Memory was the lack of subtitles during the Spanish speaking parts. There are quite a few scenes throughout the film that are in Spanish, and I struggled to understand what was happening or where they were taking the story through these scenes. Subtitles are a pretty simple addition, so I was extremely let down by them being non-existent.

Memory isn’t anything groundbreaking and won’t be winning any awards, when it comes to action thrillers, the film is still entertaining and enjoyable for the most part. If you’re a Liam Neeson, or a Guy Pearce fan, then you’ll most likely enjoy Memory.

Memory is streaming on Amazon Prime from October 7th.

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