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Memory (2022) - IMDbReview

Memory (Action, Drama, Thriller) [Based on Foreign Film] [Based on Novel] (2022)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Dario Scardapane, Erik Van Looy, Carl Joos, Jef Geeraerts

Stars: Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Taj Atwal, Mia Sanchez

Retired and living in Mexico, a former hitman suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s travels to El Paso and accepts a final job to perform two killings. But, as he discovers one of his targets is a young girl, he declines and thus is framed by his employer, and the FBI does anything they can to catch him.

Based on a novel by Belgian novelist Jef Geeraerts, ‘’Memory’’ is also a remake of the 2003 film ’’The Memory of a Killer’’. Nearly identically adapted, it’s a traditional thriller with an intriguing twist. Having worked on two films in the ‘’James Bond’’ franchise and having a multitude of thrillers in his repertoire, ‘’Memory’’ isn’t an odd choice other than it being a direct remake. It was produced by Black Bear Pictures, Welle Entertainment and Saville Productions while distributed by Briarcliff Entertainment, Open Road Films and STXfilms internationally.

Guy Pearce, Harold Torres, and Taj Atwal in Memory (2022)Working undercover, Agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) tries to arrest a father prostituting his own daughter Beatriz (Mia Sanchez). He manages to save her, but the father is killed in self-defence. Meanwhile, Alex Lewis (Liam Neeson) travels to El Paso to perform a set of contracts, one of which is the same child Serra just rescued. After refusing, Lewis is framed by his former employer, and Serra attempts to find Lewis and put him to justice for supposedly killing Beatriz.

Often the profession of a hitman is presented as an antagonist in films, as the protagonist faces them in a chase or fighting scene before their self-contained story ends. Other times this figure can be more of a grey area, or even a relatively good guy, such cases present in ‘’Leon: The Professional’’, ‘’John Wick’’ or even ‘’Kill Bill’’. ‘’Memory’’ presents the hitman, like former roles by Liam Neeson, an honest, honourable person in a foul line of work or situation getting framed.

Perhaps as close of a remake as I’ve ever seen, Campbell provides Neeson with a script that varies from the usual repertoire of the ageing Irishman and slightly adjusts the source material to modernise it. Some of these adjustments are introducing Atwal’s Agent Amisted, featuring in some way in the Belgian version too, but entirely as a background character instead of an actual supporting actress. Instances of nudity are also removed, which honestly weren’t needed to get the point across in the first place. And lastly, the second agent, this time in Torres’ Marquez, provided the most significant shifts even though they felt puzzling without adding much.

MEMORY (2022) Movie Trailer: Liam Neeson is Losing His Memory in Martin  Campbell's Action Film | FilmBookWhichever additions were made by Campbell, ‘’Memory’’ remains mostly the same and to its benefit, whether Neeson entirely matches Jan Decleir’s contract killer remains challenging—although he’s certainly capable, nothing seems to beat the original. Pearce playing De Bouw’s Vincke is an obvious nod to ‘’Memento’’, a 00s classic tackling similar themes.

In both ‘’Memory’’ and ‘’The Memory of a Killer’’ reviewed simultaneously, one thing remains clear. There’s a natural growth and progression in the characters and narrative, providing an exciting, if not slightly lop-sided, feature. If you’ve never seen the original novel adaptation, I’d have to recommend this version, and if you’re a fan of Neeson, it’s an obvious decision. There are regrettable details, such as action scenes being far too snappy, since doing actual stunts is getting more difficult for the ageing thriller hero. It isn’t easy to choose a clear successor, but I tend to think this modern alteration would edge out the original for most.


Better than other Neeson films in recent memory.