The action thriller film “Memory” tries to play with the premise of someone crucial in solving a crime starting to lose his remembrance, but ultimately makes very little use of it. The film presents a team of FBI agents investigating a series of killings in El Paso, Texas, with the killer himself trying to take up justice in his own hands while his memory is failing him. Starring Liam Neeson and Monica Bellucci, ‘Memory’ is a considerable action-packed watch but without anything much worthy of remembering, though.
‘Memory’ Plot Summary
Alex Lewis is a long-time professional assassin working in Mexico and the US, who wants to now retire, probably because of his growing age and failing health. After successfully dispatching a gangster inside a hospital ward, Alex makes his intention of retirement clear to his employers, but he is asked to set out on one last mission in El Paso, Texas. Around the same time, a group of FBI agents reaches an apartment as part of their investigation into child trafficking, and their team leader, a middle-aged man, named Vincent Serra, goes undercover posing as a customer looking to get intimate with a minor. The team quickly seems to get in control of the situation, as they have the man selling his own daughter in the flesh trade at gunpoint, but things get out of hand when the man is ultimately killed in a scuffle with Vincent. The officer helps the surviving daughter, Beatriz Leon, and also questions her at a detention area for Mexican children and minors, but to no avail. Vincent’s team, also including agent Linda Amistead and Hugo Marquez, a special agent from Mexico only working on this case, is shaken up by their superior FBI officer, Gerald Nussbaum, and Hugo is dismissed from the case. Vincent then helps Beatriz move from the camp to an orphanage home, knowing well that the detention camp is not the safest place to keep the surviving daughter of a gangster who was being investigated for child trafficking.
Meanwhile, Alex moves to El Paso and meets with his contractor at the designated hotel, who then provides him with the list of targets he is supposed to eliminate. He soon goes over to the house of the first target, a wealthy businessman named Ellis Van Camp, and wipes him out with precision, also stealing the man’s USB sticks containing important data. However, Alex is put off by the whole plan when he learns that his next target is a young girl named Beatriz Leon. He visits the orphanage that night and sees Beatriz, who begs him for mercy. Alex leaves and confronts his contractor, Borden, the next day and tries to get the contract called off. But Alex finds out the next morning that Beatriz has been found dead in her orphanage, and he doubts whether he himself has done it, as Alex suffers from Alzheimer’s and has trouble remembering things very clearly.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Why Does Alex Want To Avenge Beatriz’s Death?
When Alex confronts Borden and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t call the contract off, the contractor is seen calling up Davana Sealman, the biggest real estate dealer in the area, who has recognition in other states as well, because of her wealth and influence. The next day, when Alex wakes up to the news of Beatriz’s death, he is doubtful of his own actions the previous night, and has to be convinced by a woman he had spent the night with that he had been at the hotel throughout the night. But Alex soon finds out that his life is in danger as a man starts shooting at him in the hotel’s parking lot, and also kills his female companion. A gunfight ensues, and Alex manages to survive; and he kills off his assailant by taping him inside a car and blowing it up. He then goes after Borden and shoots him dead at his gym. The El Paso police arrive at both scenes and call upon the FBI team of Vincent and Linda to help them out in the investigation, as the bullet that killed Beatriz matched with the one that had killed Alex’s friend in the parking lot. Hugo, who was on his way back to Mexico, now stays back after hearing of Beatriz’s death. He had earlier revealed to Linda that he had been trying to work against the horrific violence of drug cartels against women in Mexico, and how the drug lords kept getting away from justice because of their influence and money. He now starts to unofficially accompany his two former colleagues, and uses his own skills to investigate. He finds out from the dead Borden’s wife that the man had recently been nervously talking with Davana Sealman about some man who had come from Mexico City, meaning Alex Lewis. The hitman, meanwhile, makes contact with Vincent through a burner phone, calling the FBI and police department slowly to catch up with the crimes of high-society criminals. Vincent spots Alex in a park near his office but is unable to make direct contact with him as the man leaves the scene. He and Linda then work out that Alex would next attack Davana’s son, Randy Sealman, and go over to a party to protect Randy. Here too, they find themselves late, as they find only the naked dead body of Randy. Vincent storms out, chasing Alex, and now finally has a direct conversation with the man. Alex makes it clear that he wants revenge against the people who killed Beatriz, and states that he himself would do it if the police keep being so slow. Just as he is driving away, Hugo also arrives on the scene and shoots at him, believing that he was the one who had killed the young girl.
Vincent and Linda go through the police database and find out that Alex Lewis had been a victim of sexual and physical abuse, along with his elder brother, at the hands of their own father. This history now understandably triggers reckless violence in Alex, as he mentioned a number of times that no matter how immoral his life has been as a hired killer, he would never tolerate any harm against children. Alex was also earlier seen visiting his brother at a hospital, where the latter lives in an almost vegetative state with severe Alzheimer’s, unable to remember anything or even talk. The police database also mentions Alex’s father having owned a bakery that had burned down in a fire many years back, which also seemed to have been the act of young Alex. Vincent and his team raid the bakery and find the hitman’s laptop and USB drives, but the man, who is now severely injured from Hugo’s shot, has already left to take revenge against Davana Sealman. At Davana’s office, she is given supreme police protection, but Alex manages to get past all of that and finds himself alone with Davana and El Paso PD’s detective Danny Mora. He hits Mora with his gun, potentially making him unconscious, and then gets hold of Davana and tries to shoot her dead. His gun does not work, though, and in a brief second, he is attacked by Mora and is arrested by him. The police officer interrogates him and uses physical force against him, despite seeing that he has a bleeding bullet wound on his body. Finally, out of persuasion from other police officers and the FBI agents, Alex is taken to a hospital and admitted there. Through his words and also from videos found on his flash drives, the FBI finds out that Randy Sealman and his mother owned the child detention centers in El Paso, and that the son would often take away minor girls from these centers for sessions of sexual brutality. It is for this that Alex was now pursuing Davana, for he believed that the mother knew it all and only supported her son’s heinous acts.
Davana soon asks her personal doctor to kill the hospitalized Alex with a poison injection, and when the doctor disagrees at first, she threatens to leak information about his presence at her son’s illegal and immoral parties. It is now very clear that Davana indeed knew about her son’s acts, and that night her doctor went to kill Alex. The injured and aging hitman sees through the doctor’s plan, though, and manages to take him hostage and demands to talk with Vincent. The FBI agent reaches the hospital, which has almost the entire El Paso police force waiting outside, prepared to fire. Alex manages to reach him inside his car and reveals that he has one more USB drive with a taped phone conversation in it that would prove Davana’s involvement in this whole case, and tells him where to find it in the run-down bakery. Alex then, knowing very well that his work has been done and that there is no escape for him as he is about to die in three to six months, walks out of the car in front of the entire police force, and immediately gets shot dead.
‘Memory’ Ending Explained: Who Killed Davana Sealman?
Vincent rushes to the bakery and gets hold of the USB drive Alex had told him about, and also finds a phone conversation between Davana and Ellis Van Camp on it. He had earlier spoken with the state prosecutor, who had told him to get hold of any evidence linking Davana to the crimes in order to file a case, but the prosecutor had also expressed his unwillingness to fight such a case behind Vincent’s back. When Vincent takes the recorded phone conversation to the man, he claims that such evidence is of no use without the testimony of the witness, which in this case was the now-dead Alex Lewis. Vincent can hardly believe the level of corruption and selfishness that exists in all of the city’s administrations, and he angrily expresses his frustration, which gets him suspended from the FBI. That night, Linda visits his house and almost forcibly takes the man out for some drinks at a local pub. While the two spend the evening together in public, a masked man enters Davana’s house and slices her throat with a knife, instantly killing her. Later in the night, news of this latest murder flashes on the television in the pub, and Vincent cleverly guesses that by bringing him out into public, Linda had actually provided him with an alibi, since he would have instantly been targeted for the murder. Linda’s act is now seen to be clearly intentional, as the masked man is revealed to be Hugo Marquez, who carefully removes all traces of himself, while the police announce that there are no immediate possible suspects in the crime.
Hugo had earlier expressed with a lot of anguish how corruption and greed denied women and children justice in his homeland, Mexico. Now in the United States, he learns that the situation is exactly the same, and finally has to take the law into his own hands. Vincent, too, had been a victim of the terrible justice system, as he earlier tells Alex—his wife and son had been killed by a drunk driver, who had then paid off or scared off the only witness to the crime, a fifteen-year-old girl. The girl then intentionally misidentified the wrong men on three different occasions, and the actual perpetrator walked free because no hard evidence could be found against him. Both these two men could not bear seeing Davana Sealman get away with supporting and helping terrible crimes against minor girls, and so they decided to act on their own to serve some sort of punishment to the cruel woman. Although Vincent was not part of the murder plan, it was one that he would support any day, and would give his all to protect Hugo from any lawful harm.