It moves: While not the most adrenaline packed pace I love, Memory does move fairly well in terms of getting into the meat of the movie. No prolonged speeches, little set up, or even an attempt at putting mystery is present in this film. For the action/thriller genre, that works quite well, and that consistency should keep most fans involved in the film until the very end where things start to hit the brakes.
The Mood/Cinematography: While not the groundbreaking work that films like Dune and 1917 have mastered, Memory's camera crew has accomplished a lot in the use of the film techniques put on display. Filters help establish a lot of the darker tone of the film, with lighting accomplishing much in this film to bring out the mood of the tone. It helps add finesse to the characters, almost a brief glimpse into the minds of the group and what their actions are representing. Angles and placement eventually accomplish a lot as well, the close ups, the editing and the use of focus changes being a real winner in my book for again helping bring out the tension and emotion of the movie.
Neeson: If you like the role that Neeson has played so well, then you will really like the little elevation the actor has added into this part. Alex's line of work has a lot of rules and moral boundaries that one must analyze, and seeing that code and boundary constantly rearranging over the course of the film plays nicely into the twist of this film. Memory, I believe pushed this role into a semi-original level, and you can certainly see Neeson accomplish a lot with his ability to bring it alive. He's got the mannerisms, the alteration in speech, even the atmosphere that you do not expect and I for one am blown away by his ability to take a familiar role and still find a way to adjust it.
The Rest of the Acting: It's pretty good, another solid performance by the rag-tag crew trying to make this level come to life and pull us into the sad case this film address. Bellucci needed more involvement, but her time on screen is seductive, clever, and powerful as I believe they were going. Pearce was back in his rogue element well, playing the sleazy looking agent with a heart of gold well, and probably my favorite character of the film, behind Hugo that is. Pearce takes several of the characters he has played before, and wraps them together into a nice hodge-podge that we like to see. As the rest of the group continues to put their two cents in, it feels like a CSI episode with a bigger budget and you know what, it works for me. The little pulled together family is a nice change and I for one felt it worked extraordinarily well in the gran scheme of things.
The Action Feels in Tone with the Movie: It's no Marvel movie, or even the best action film to be honest, but it does keep in touch with the theme of the movie. Memory's fights have some stakes to it, and though seeing him pull the skills from Taken in would have been nice, it still does the job for "intense" moments. You might appreciate the realism that comes with it, and how there is not so much suspense as Alex continues to get to the end of the nightmare he is in and tying up the loose ends. Thus, you can enjoy the laid-back action and enjoy the thriller aspect instead.
The Messages and Feels: The movie covers a rather dark set of topics, and handles it quite well compared to what could have happened. Memory has a lot of stories and concepts to tie in, and the dialogue is written fairly well to make the point without crossing over the mark into too wild of territory. I think the use of the other techniques and the acting helps emphasize the feelings of the movie, but the writing and story really have that finishing punch with the music to really tie off all the loose ends this movie had it. It's a complete feeling, and I feel they handled the grittier themes in good taste, not something easily accomplished in today's standards.
The Brother Plotline: What looked to be a major element in the protagonist's story, kind of fell to the wayside in the grand scheme of the movie. Memory tried to use it as a touching subject, plot device, or maybe.an attempt to mislead, but in my book, it felt pointless and an afterthought. If it's some cameo, then I can appreciate this, but the sweeter side of Alex was already showing in other ways that were better. It's not the biggest infuriating moment, but again, not the most needed inclusion.
Boring: Though the action is fitting, it's also a bit boring and bland compared to movies like John Wick. Neeson may not have to jump, roll, or even move into kung-fu frenzy, but I expected a little more strategy and intensity to show up in this film. Sadly, only a few scenes even remotely cross this line, the rest merely what you find in a crime/mafia movie for taking out targets. It's again fitting of the movie, but an action junkie like me really enjoys a little more ambience in the film.
The Villain Is Lame: Most of the films we have seen have some type of group or that one person you want to see put down for the arrogance and corruption they have. It's sort of a staple to this series, because you want that face to be taken out if possible. Memory, really isn't like that at all, and I can't say I was really intrigued by this rather one-directional "villain". There is some attempt at elevating it into the moral laden character tale of everyone having good and bad in them, but that only goes so far me in this movie that is rather simplistic and not quite as artistic. So, while I appreciate an attempt at this, I really could have used a central character to help make a legitimate rival for the others trying to solve the case.
Depressing: While I never go into these movies feeling High School Musical Vibes, I also don't like going in and feeling depressed for much of the film. The main "twist" to the movie, which isn't really a twist, is one of those elements that has the potential to be sort of a nice time setter, butat the same time latches onto your mind and may suck the life out of you. I'd have liked this element to be a little less realistic, so that I could focus on the action elements, but again, this is more of a personal sensitivity than anything else.
Forgive me for being punny, but Memory is indeed a forgettable movie to most in the grand scheme of things. While Neeson and the crew have tried to breathe light into a role that has been done to death, and the camera work helps amplify the emotions, the movie just is not the action/thriller spectacle that many might be looking to watch. The action, though fitting is a shell compared to movies like Wick, and the story does not have enough wow elements to offset the minimization of Hollywood special effects. My favorite aspect is indeed the themes of the movie being delivered in the moral finish, but even that only goes so far to pull you into the theater for this film. Thus, I suggest a home viewing watch of this movie and would maybe hold your theater visit for something with a little more gusto. My scores are:
Movie Overall: 5.0.
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