What do you think it would be like if you began remembering things that weren’t yours to remember in the first place? What if these new memories were from a killer?
Battle of Memories takes place in 2025. Memory manipulation is available and widely used in many countries across the globe.
In China, prize novelist, Jiang Feng, Bo Huang (Journey to the West, Silver Medallist), uses the service to remove the memories of his failed marriage.
However, when he presents his wife, Jinglei Xu (Somewhere Only We Know, The Warlords), with the divorce papers, she refuses. She won’t sign until he has his memory restored.
He heads back to the Memory centre but instead of having his own memories restored, he is given someone else’s. He is given the memories of a serial killer. And, with just 72 hours before those memories are permanently his, the race is on to find out the killer’s true identity.
Writer, Peng Ren (The Great Hypnotist, Doomsday Reverse) has penned something that is a real sci-fi, thriller, who-dunnit. It twists and turns like a snake across the desert.
In the hands of director, Leste Chen (The Great Hypnotist, The Heirloom), however, the movie pops. We swing from atmospheric colour ‘now’, to black and white ‘memories’ with aplomb.
Confusion reigns as Jiang Feng’s new memories return to him slowly each time he sleeps. We see more details of the murders, more points to take in.
Frustratingly though, each time Feng goes back he always sees himself as the murder. Even when he manages to remain conscious and ‘pause’ the memory, stepping out and wondering around, it’s always him as the killer.
As Feng reveals more details the police begin to realise he’s telling the truth and help him find the killer. Detective, Shen Hanqiang, Yihong Duan (Drifters, The Message), works with Feng to piece together the fragments as they draw closer and close to the killer.
Battle of Memories is a wonderful head-scratcher of a movie. It doesn’t dwell on the science of the memory manipulation or what 2025 might be like. This is a thriller and a who dunnit more than a sci-fi.
However, it is not without its flaws. There are points when things go unsaid that have no business not being said. A scene in which Feng faces his wife and a doctor, Zishan Yang, will leave you frustrated beyond belief.
Even when, later, it turns out to be another twist in the tale, it’s still a little…frustrating. The final half-hour, you know, when the action happens, is exciting as it is confusing as it is disappointing as we’ve seen it all before.
All this leads me to wonder what Battle of Memories could have been. I think the idea is superb, I think, Bo Huang is brilliant as Feng. He really has you believing there’s this ‘other person’ inside of him.
There are just parts that are a little too cliché and, for such an interesting premise, the final film doesn’t quite live up to the promise.
THE QUICK SELL
What do you think it would be like if you began remembering things that weren't yours to remember in the first place? What if these new memories were from a killer?