There isn’t a moment in Memory during which Billy Zane seems natural, though it’s tough to tell if this is because he’s an inherently affected actor (which he is) or because he’s an inherently affected person and would seem just as artificial and strangely “off” if he were hanging out in one’s living room. Either way, his lead performance as an Alzheimer’s researcher is no more ridiculous than anything else about Memory, writer-director Bennett Davlin’s adaptation of his own novel about a magic Amazonian Indian powder that allows people to experience their biological ancestors’ memories, which it turns out are stored in the unused 93% of our DNA. When Zane’s neuroscientist Taylor Briggs accidentally comes into contact with this supernatural dust, he becomes beset by visions of a lake, a forest, and a man in a cracked china doll mask and Burberry coat who seems to be abducting young girls and making plaster casts of their faces. His investigation into these hallucinations is aided by a sexy artist (Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer) whose attraction to the cocky Briggs is a total mystery, and is periodically interrupted by visits with his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother and her best friends Carol (Ann-Margret) and Max (Dennis Hopper). As those are the film’s only significant characters, it’s not monumentally tough to figure out who the child-snatching fiend is, though deciphering Memory‘s countless story inconsistencies is a far more arduous—and ultimately futile—task. People are killed to cover up secrets that aren’t really important while others unaccountably fail to remember crucial life experiences, both baffling developments that, like everything else about this dreary slog of a thriller, aren’t even clumsy enough to be inadvertently amusing. Meanwhile, the director states in the film’s press notes that “all the science you will see in this motion picture is cutting edge,” a statement that holds true if you simply replace the word “science” with “silliness.”
- Eastgate Pictures
- 98 min
- Bennett Davlin
- Bennett Davlin, Anthony Badalucco
- Billy Zane, Tricia Helfer, Ann-Margret, Terry Chen, Dennis Hopper
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