REVIEW: Memory (2022)

The next entry in the Liam Neeson generic action film lineup, Memory, unceremoniously blasted onto screens this weekend. For those enthralled by the current trajectory of Neeson’s career, with films like Taken, Blacklight, Non-Stop, and Honest Thief becoming the norm, this film delivers exactly what is to be expected and what is enjoyed about those other films. Though altogether underwhelming, the film does try to tackle some heavy and complicated issues such as human trafficking, sex crimes, and pedophilia while never truly saying anything of note about these sensitive topics. Even Neeson’s character’s early-onset Alzheimer’s is utilized more as a plot device than as an interesting point of exploration.

Liam Neeson Alzheimer’s, which is the central point of interest in Memory, is very inconsistent. It comes and goes as needed for the plot whenever a scene requires an extra kick, but it never stays around long enough to feel like an authentic piece of the story. The main impact that Alzheimer’s has on the film before the finale is that Neeson occasionally takes some pills. Beyond that, the script seems to forget about this crucial piece of the story quite often. However, Neeson does not seem to forget where the script does. He appears to have studied the symptoms of Alzheimer’s to a greater degree than would have been expected. He brings his A-game, accurately portraying the little idiosyncrasies that come from Alzheimer’s symptoms like shaking hands, stumbling words, and bouts of confused anger.

The film’s biggest shortcoming comes in the form of unmet expectations. In an action film, the action and the choreography are generally at the forefront of the narrative; that is not the case with Memory. There is far less action than would be expected from a typical action flick, especially when compared to Neeson’s regular fare. Instead, the movie delves more into the investigation aspect of the story while trying to explore the aforementioned complicated issues, such as sex trafficking and child abuse. It is hard to call this a flaw, as the film does what it intends to do. However, the audience should go into Memory with the knowledge that it is not as action-packed as the trailers make it out to be. There are only two significant action set pieces, both of which are more stand-there-and-shoot-at-each-other affairs rather than the bombastic and over-the-top set pieces that would be expected from this actor and the director of Casino Royale.

Memory also attempts to subvert the audiences’ expectations to add a little pizzazz to the otherwise bland and uninteresting story. Learning from the mistakes of Rian Johnson with The Last Jedi, Memory does not just choose whatever will incite the most anger from the audience. Instead, it simply decides to do the unexpected while still attempting to maintain the narrative consistency and fan satisfaction necessary to leave the audience gratified. While the results of these attempts are underwhelming, none of these subversions of expectations ultimately detract from the quality of the film or its potential enjoyment.


The side characters in this film are altogether underwhelming. Ray Stevenson comes off as a generic corrupt cop, begrudgingly fulfilling his duties, offering nothing of note in his performance, as there isn’t in the writing. Taj Atwal’s performance resembles a schizophrenic patient hopped up on cocaine. Her portrayal flip-flops between 100 different characters, ultimately giving the audience whiplash. Is she the kind and caring supporter of her partner or the violent and blood-thirsty avenger? Does she respect the law and strive to follow it stalwartly, or does she have so little regard for it that she will constantly mock and berate any law enforcement officer she comes across? One moment, she questions her abilities and confidence, then the next, she is like, “I really am the best, aren’t I? Oh, I know I am!” These dichotomies and others like them make it very difficult to relate to or connect with her, as she is very inconsistent. At one point, she is so kind and comforting to one of her partners before turning around and antagonizing Ray Stevenson for no reason, to such a degree that she comes across as an unrelenting nuisance who has no business in law enforcement or any other career that requires her to talk to people she does not like.

The many villains of Memory are also unimpressive. None of them are genuinely developed beyond generic pedophiles or an overbearing mother protecting her monstrous child at any cost. Due to this lack of development and their sheer multitude, there is no satisfaction when they are beaten, get their comeuppance, or get away. They come across as more tacked onto the story than the inciters of the conflict. This story would have benefited greatly from a solid antagonist to drive the story forward. But as it stands, it comes across as if there is no threat or real urgency in overcoming these villains.


Despite his rather odd appearance, Guy Pearce is probably the best part of Memory. This talented and revered actor brought his A-game even to this unimpressive and generic film. The moments when he shines the most deal with his relationship with the young Hispanic girl Neeson refuses to kill, the story’s inciting incident. He connects with her very closely because his wife and son have recently been killed in a DUI car accident. By feeling responsible for this little girl, he becomes dedicated to solving the mystery and bringing the sex traffickers to justice.

Though Memory offers very little in the form of intelligent writing or complex characters and is altogether inoffensive, it delivers precisely what it intends to: a fun and distracting action flick. It is nothing special, but it does not pretend to be anything more than that. For those questioning whether or not they will go to the theater to see this film, unless you are diehard Neeson fans, going out of your way to see Memory cannot be recommended. It is better to wait until it comes out on a streaming platform when there is not anything better to watch.


Plot - 5
Acting - 6.5
Direction/Editing - 5.5
Music/Sound - 5.5
Themes - 5



Though Memory offers very little in the form of intelligent writing or complex characters and is all altogether inoffensive, it delivers precisely what it intends to: a fun and distracting action flick.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!