Memory parents guide

Memory Parent Guide

It's never a good sign when a thriller can't make a whole bunch of murders compelling.

Overall D

Theaters: When a hired assassin refuses a contract hit, he finds himself in peril.

Release date April 29, 2022

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use B

Why is Memory rated R? The MPAA rated Memory R for language throughout, violence, and some bloody images

Run Time: 114 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Although he’s had a long and successful career as a contract killer, Alex (Liam Neeson) is running out of steam. As he ages, he’s increasingly afflicted by a nasty congenital form of Alzheimer’s, which is obviously a problem for a professional assassin. But he has another reason for wanting to retire: his latest employer sent him off to kill a witness but failed to mention that the witness in question is a traumatized 13-year-old. Alex may be a killer, but he draws the line at harming children. His refusal is a problem for the criminals who hired him, and they decide to have him eliminated. Alex didn’t last this long in his job without knowing an ambush when he sees one, and it’s going to take a lot to bring him down. Meanwhile, Alex sets out to burn their entire operation to the ground…even if that means giving information to Vincent (Guy Pearce), an FBI agent working on a related investigation.

Much like its protagonist, this film seems to lurch from event to event with little understanding of its intended destination. Despite fairly frequent murders, the story drags terribly, and it’s never a good sign when a movie can’t even make homicide compelling. The antagonists are, well, antagonizing, but Monica Bellucci is criminally underused. Frankly, I couldn’t figure out how the filmmakers enticed her into the film in the first place, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that she has, optimistically, ten minutes of screentime. A bigger problem is Taj Atwal, who gives a reasonable performance, but with one of the worst movie accents I’ve heard. She is originally from Manchester, but her take on a Texas accent seems to come via Eastern Europe and a severe head cold. Some of her dialogue is barely comprehensible.

But you’re not here for them. You’re here to watch Liam Neeson kill a whole bunch of people in scenarios which are more likely to give the 69-year-old actor a hip problem than to resolve any plot points. He does get to commit a few fun murders, but mostly he just wanders around with a variety of injuries, looking like an escapee from a nearby nursing facility. This is, thankfully, a plot point, but it does slow the film down a fair bit.

Of course, Memory was never going to be a film for children, and its focus on child sexual abuse and contract killing, interspersed with a good bit of cussing, are unlikely to make this a fun choice for casual viewing. Unfortunately, casual viewing is all the film is good for, with bad pacing, faltering action, and a general lack of direction rendering it unappealing to anyone looking for a quality production. If you want contract murder and fun, try director Martin Campbell’s recent film The Protégé, which may not be the next Citizen Kane, but which does have Michael Keaton. Can’t beat that.

Directed by Martin Campbell. Starring Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci. Running time: 114 minutes. Theatrical release April 29, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for Memory

Rating & Content Info

Why is Memory rated R? Memory is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, violence, and some bloody images

Violence: People are repeatedly shot and killed. Several characters are strangled or garroted. A man is killed in an explosion. A man is shoved out of a window and killed. A child is shot and killed. A character’s throat is cut. A character is shown cauterizing a bullet wound.
Sexual Content: There are frequent references to and non-graphic depictions of child sex abuse and human trafficking, as well as prostitution. One scene contains male posterior nudity. A woman is briefly seen naked from the shoulders up.
Profanity: There are 40 sexual expletives, 14 scatological curses, and frequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking and smoking tobacco.

Page last updated

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Other films featuring contract killers near the Mexican border include No Country for Old Men, Sicario, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and The Marksman, which also stars Liam Neeson. Another film about cartel-related human trafficking is Miss Bala. Director Martin Campbell also directed The Protégé, The Foreigner, and Casino Royale.