MEMORY
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

There's an intriguing premise buried in from his
own unpublished novel (it has since been
printed as a tie-in with the film). The crazy idea
that Davlin has concocted is a humdinger of a
"what if ..." What if we could somehow tap into
the minds of our ancestors, or more specifically,
our parents? What if we "saw" some of the
things they did? The execution of this idea may
leave something to be desired, but
Davlin's script did attract an interesting cast,
including Ann-Margaret and Dennis Hopper.

Billy Zane stars in the lead role as Dr. Taylor
Briggs, a specialist in Alzheimer's disease. His
mother is suffering from the effects of this
syndrome and his desire to seek a cure has a
poignant edge to it. While it may be too late for
her, Dr. Briggs might be able to save the lives
of others. Briggs travels to Brazil for a
conference and is suddenly called to a hospital
to consult on a patient who has been found in
the jungle, covered in a red powder. The
patient's brain has been decimated, particularly
in the areas where memory is housed.

At the hospital, Briggs accidentally gets a little
of the red stuff on his hand through a tear in a
rubber glove. Later that night, he has a
hallucination that his hotel room is hit by an
earthquake and he somehow ends up in a
remote region where there is a lake. This is the
first of a series of "visions" he has that involve
a black-clad masked figure and a series of young
girls whom he later discovers went missing the
year before he was born. How is this possible?

Well, that's one of the central mysteries at the
heart of the movie.
MEMORY, though, takes its
sweet time getting there. Along the way, there
is a not terribly convincing romance between
Briggs and an artist (Tricia Helfer) who has
made a painting of a figure that resembles the
one Briggs "sees" in his visions.

The film bogs down in details that aren't terribly
plausible, although I will say that Davlin does
put a twist on things involving the person most
people in the audience might suspect of being
the killer.

The performances are rote, although pros like
Hopper and Ann-Margaret attempt to spice up
their underwritten roles. Helfer is fetching
enough but she and Zane share zero chemistry
so their romance falls flat.

Davlin tries hard to inject a feeling of dread to
the proceedings but as this is his first feature,
he still has some things to learn. The pacing is
a bit off -- particularly in some key scenes (like
the denouement) and some of the plot
mechanics are creakier than well-worn floor
boards.
MEMORY is a nice try but it misses
more than it hits.


   
Rating:            D
   
MPAA Rating:   R for language and
                            frightening images
   
Running time:  98 mins.
Stephanie Jacobs in  MEMORY
Photo credit: Bob Akester
© 2007 Memory, Inc.