MEMENTO, the second feature by writer-director Christopher Nolan (FOLLOWING), is an intricately constructed film noir that masterfully inverts time to comment on the foggy relationship between memory and truth. MEMENTO tells the story of Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a former insurance investigator who witnesses a brutal attack on his wife. Knocked unconscious, Leonard wakes up with a rare brain condition--he no longer possesses short-term memory. He can remember his name and all the details of his past, but he can no longer make new memories. Armed with a careful system of remembering detail... s (he compulsively snaps Polaroids and scribbles notes, then tattoos the important facts directly onto his body), the distraught Leonard goes on a manhunt to avenge his wife's death. To illustrate the unique and frightening state of the protagonist's mind (he cannot remember what happened even seconds before), Nolan takes a brilliantly successful risk in telling the story backward. The film begins with Leonard killing the man he's looking for. From there MEMENTO unravels a compellingly disconcerting trail back to the start. As the layers of the story are peeled back scene by scene, Leonard's involvement with two enigmatic "friends"--who both claim to be helping him--complicates the mystery. Based on a short story by the director's brother, Jonathan Nolan, MEMENTO is an incredibly original film that is so wonderfully puzzling and eerily ambiguous that it will surely warrant repeated viewings.
An excellent film. Well directed and acted by all concerned. The way the film has been put together means that you frequently know what is coming, but not how you are going to get there. After you have watched and enjoyed the film as it was intended I recommend watching it forwards .Access the special features section of the DVD. Wait for the 'Memento Mori' picture to move and the pic of Leonard with a pic in his mouth to take up most of the screen (best wait for the words 'Memento Mori' to be barely visible at the edge of the screen). Press enter/play. A screen will come up telling you you have found the hidden version of the film. Click on 'Play'. And then watch...
Since embarking on a sharp learning curve with the ambitious Following, each one of Christopher Nolan's subsequent projects has been excellent and Memento is no exception.
"...Exceptional....A haunting, nervy thriller....MEMENTO is a provocatively structured and thrillingly executed film noir..."
"...MEMENTO has the uniquely disorienting quality of a puzzle....It's the rare mystery in which every moment lives....Pearce's extraordinary performance lends even the smallest events the aura of a life-or-death search..."
Essentially, Memento is a straightforward revenge flick with Pearce's Leonard tracking down the man who raped and murdered his wife. But this standard plot comes with an ingenious twist. Brain damage Leonard sustained during the attack has left him with the memory of a goldfish. He forgets conversations he had two minutes ago. He doesn't know if the man sitting next to him is his best friend or sworn enemy. He can't even remember if the bottle of Scotch he's clutching is to get him pissed or to bash over the head of his assailant. What assailant? Exactly. His confusion intensifies when he gets caught up with drug dealers who readily abuse his condition. He's...
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