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The Memory of a Killer

Some Memories Are Best Left Forgotten…

Few would consider being afflicted with Alzheimer's a good thing, but if your life was filled with morally questionable acts perhaps forgetting your past isn't such a bad deal after all. Professional hitman, Angelo Ledda (Jan Decleir) finds himself in just such a situation while in the midst of one of his last jobs in Belgium. Things get even more complicated when Ledda discovers one of his last hits is a young girl.

Haunted by an abusive childhood, Ledda goes awol and embarks on a vengeful rampage knocking off the middleman who arranged the job and gradually working his way up the ladder. Hot in pursuit are detectives Eric Vincke (Koen De Bouw) and Freddy Verstuyft (Werner De Smedt). As the death toll mounts, it becomes apparent that there are some serious political implications to these deaths.

Ledda's blind rage and burgeoning Alzheimer's causes a few sloppy missteps putting him in hot water as Vincke and Verstuyft close the gap. Jan Decleir brings a haunted and weary tone to his performance as Ledda. Ledda is a man who has gone too far down his chosen path to turn back. He knows he's going down, it's just a question of when and, one way or the other, he's going to make sure those responsible get theirs.

Vincke and Verstuyft, while ultimately focused on bringing Ledda to justice, form an uneasy alliance with the hitman as Ledda's memory becomes less and less reliable and the deaths of Ledda's victims begins to reveal a pattern. De Bouw and de Smedt are convincing as the relentless and irreverent detectives.

It would be reductionistic to characterize The Memory of a Killer as merely a thriller. Director Erik Van Looy creates a film that is as much a character study of an aging hitman with a heart of gold as it is a straightforward thriller. Adapted from the work of author Jef Geeraerts, The Memory of a Killer is reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's Memento. Complex and conflicted characters grudgingly plod down the path they've chosen.

You know summer is over when films like The Memory of a Killer start hitting the big screen. Erik Van Looy's latest is complex, dark, and far removed from the light-hearted fluff that has been populating the multiplex for what seems like an eternity. The Memory of a Killer is a cool blast of fresh air.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars