Memory: A Complicated Tale of Heroes, Victims, and Villiains

Liam Neeson in Memory (photo by Rico Torres, Open Road Films)

Liam Neeson lives up to his Hollywood typecasting as the guy you never wanna mess with—and he does it so well. His aging character, Alex Lewis, is retiring from his day job as a contract hitman, especially since he’s experiencing symptoms of dementia. What’s equally notable is that this hired killer has a strict moral code. Alex refuses to harm children. Ever. And he’ll do what he must to stop anyone who would. Which trashes the old adage, if you’ve met one assassin you’ve met them all.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the law, we meet the earnest FBI team, played by the awesome Guy Pearce as Vincent Serra, along with his two partners, played by the energetic Taj Atwal and the determined Harold Torres. As part of the Child Exploitation task force, they try to infiltrate El Paso’s child prostitution ring that’s rooted in Mexico.

Memory leans on the familiar contradiction that those who wear the badge to enforce the law are not necessarily the good guys. And the film laments the many ways the criminal justice system fails us. And how even when the law serves the victims, the process can take years. Meanwhile, Alex, the career assassin, is single-handedly hunting down some of the bad guys that populate the film. The FBI and the assassin seem to be tracking some of the same people. But Alex can do it faster. With no red tape.

Liam Neeson stars in Memory (Open Road Films)

Streaming on Prime, Memory is based on a Belgian book, The Alzheimer Case, which was adapted into a thriller in 2003. It was adapted again in 2022 by Dario Scardapane into this compelling American saga, well-directed by Martin Campbell. Memory offers skillfully paced entertainment with the right combination of mystery, truth, and suspense for a viewer’s great escape. Solid writing and strong delivery led by Neeson and Pearce make a compelling tale of heroes, victims, and villains. Attention to the details will fill in the blanks. And the intersection of Alex Lewis with FBI agent Serra (Pearce) adds a human dimension to a world gone wild.

On the other side of this recommendation, we’ll consider the critics. Memory’s audience ratings are low, partly due to Liam Neeson’s redundant role. Admittedly, I’m a fan of both Neeson and Pearce. But a strong cast wouldn’t sustain a weak film. You need an intriguing, well-executed story. Human themes. Secrets that get revealed. An assortment of colorful characters. And a satisfying ending. Memory checks all these boxes. But for a final opinion on the viewing experience, I recruited a tough critic to watch the film and deliver an honest reaction: my husband. He found Memory engaging and gave it the seal of approval. Case closed. Check it out.