The Alzheimer Case or The Memory of a Killer might be the first Belgian film I´ve ever seen. It´s a nifty crime thriller set in Antwerp about a hit man, a couple of cops and a child prostitution ring. There´s a fair amount of action, great characterisation and quite a few laughs.
Jan Decleir plays Angelo Ledda, an old and reluctant hit man who is pressed into service once more by his beardy bad guy boss. He establishes his credentials with the first part of his task which is to retrieve a package from a house and kill the owner. Part two concerns the murder of a young girl and since this is morally beyond the pale for Ledda he refuses to go through with it. Needless to say his boss is not impressed and Ledda finds himself chased by both police and bad guys.
The police in question, Vincke and Verstuyft are the best detectives in the city and begin investigating the murder. As Ledda ups the body count Vincke starts to realise they may both be after the same people and they begin to share information. Things become increasingly complicated when Ledda starts to lose his memory and it transpires he may be developing Alzheimer´s disease.
The film has a really nice quirky sense of humour and the basic premise is excellent. The characters are brought to life beautifully by an unfamiliar but obviously talented cast. I particularly enjoyed Jan Decleir as Ledda and the relationship between Vincke played by Koen De Bouw and Verstuyft played by Werner De Smedt is very comical.
The direction from Eric Van Looy is accomplished and fragmented scenes capture Ledda´s struggle to recall his own memories. There´s also plenty of nicely shot action and some great settings around Antwerp. While the film sticks to cop thriller conventions it still manages to feel fresh and inventive.
This film is compelling viewing and a nice premise is well realised with some good direction and great acting. It deservedly won a number of awards and provides a nice alternative to the usual Hollywood output for cop thriller fans. It will be no surprise if they remake this but I doubt they will capture the charm of the original.