By ABBIE BERNSTEIN, Contributing Writer
Okay, noting that MEMORY is better than PREMONITION is arguably not saying much, but in fact, this little genre thriller is better than a lot of similar flicks that have come before.
THE FIGURE IN THE BLACK BURBERRY OVERCOAT that haunts Billy Zane’s (Dr. Taylor Briggs) dreams.
Part of the charm of MEMORY, directed by Bennett Devlin and written by Devlin & Anthony Badalucco from Devlin’s novel, is that it has a sense of real independence. For one thing, it’s doubtful that a major studio would go along with the mystery that our hero winds up investigating – a string of child abductions/murders perpetrated by someone whose memories are leaking into the hero’s mind.
Billy Zane plays Dr. Taylor Briggs, a medical researcher who, in an odd accident at a none-too-tidy hospital, winds up with a strange substance introduced to his bloodstream. Taylor, rational fellow that he is, at first thinks he’s hallucinating when he begins without warning to jump into experiences that are not his. Gradually, little clues pile up to indicate that Taylor is in fact having flashes of someone else’s memory – but whose? And how can Taylor find the person, who seems likely to keep killing?
There’s a pleasing air of freedom here. It’s rare in this sort of genre film to have character moments that are real character moments instead of having everything add up as clues – the filmmakers clearly enjoy creating all aspects of Taylor’s world, some of which tie into the main plot thread and some of which are just there to supply color. It’s a nice change from movies where, if we’re told anything, we can safely assume we’re meant to instantly add it to our store of knowledge (which often results in the audience figuring things out far sooner than the filmmakers intend). There are some good plot twists here and, even for those who can see the last one coming far in advance, everything seems consistent within the film’s mythology.
Zane is appealingly rueful and understandably apprehensive as Taylor, who goes through a visible personality transition throughout the course of the story. Tricia Helfer (Number Six on BATTLEATAR GALACTICA) makes a likable, distinctive romantic and eventually investigative partner and Ann-Margret and Dennis Hopper (the latter underplaying urbanely) contribute good supporting performances.
MEMORY is the kind of funky, mildly trippy psychic thriller that used to turn up far more regularly in theatres in the days before DVDs. It doesn’t remotely reinvent the wheel, but it’s got its own identity, the filmmakers actually care about their storytelling and it is ultimately both sincerely creepy and reasonably enjoyable.
Cindy from Kansas City sez....
I also saw the movie Memory in New Orleans. I can't believe the review of the in the New York Times. Anyone who can not see the link of the Amazonian tribe and Taylor Briggs Alzheimers research did not truly watch the movie. The movie explained it very clearly. Taylor Briggs was a Alzheimers researcher and in the country,with speaking engagements,at the time the emergency patient entered the hospital. It would stand to reason a hospital knowing this would call in this man to review a special case concerning the scan of this patient showing signs of distress in the doctors area of expertise---memory. After reviewing the scan and patient, Dr. Briggs then goes through the patients back pack and comes into contact with the same powder that this Amazonian tribe used in ceremonies to bring back their ancestors memories. The pineal gland of dead relatives,of this tribe, was ground into powder after death. The powder containing DMT (which is found in our pineal gland) came into contact with Dr. Briggs finger from a broken surgical glove( which sometimes does really happen)caused Dr. Briggs to hallucinate and see memories of his ancestors. This idea may be far fetched but what could be more far fetched than a carnivorous shark or ET ,an Extraterrestrial, riding around on bikes with a little girl. Remember, that is what movies are all about---Dreaming. I commend the writers on their dare to be different and hope to see more challenging movies in the future. I enjoyed the movie from start to finish.
3/23/2007 5:59:13 PM
matt from in New Orleans sez....
What a great little "Zaney crazy wacky thriller".* MEMORY reminds me of an early Hitchcock-amemie comedy-killer thriller. *We went to the premiere March 23rd, and had a great time. meeting Ann-Margret, Terry Chen, Scott Anderson and Bennett Davlin, the movie director. Good
3/23/2007 1:59:02 PM