Director: Christopher Nolan
Leonard (Pearce) is on the trail of his wife’s killer. One problem: he can’t produce short-term memory. To compensate for his handicap, he takes Polaroids of everything and everyone. He also takes lots of notes and even has some tattooed on his body to help him remember what he has to remember. Will he find the culprit? Will he find himself?
In the year 2000, "American Psycho" and "Requiem For A Dream" consumed me. This year, it’s without a doubt "Memento". Just when I thought I had seen it all, this flick comes along and thankfully proves me wrong.
This flick has everything on its side. First off, the unconventional storytelling style: the movie begins with the ending and then rewinds into what got us there. Since the film is told from Leonard’s POV and he has no short-term memory, we the audience are put through a confusing but fascinating tornado of thoughts and events. Scenes are repeated with new twists, characters are ambiguous and the plot is always on the run. We are slapped in the shoes of the main character and trust me, it’s a fucked up place to be.
The film also delivers a strong existential message. I mean, our memories have a lot to do with who we are or whom we think we are. But since memories get distorted/embellished with time, does that mean that who we are is false? Leonard (Pearce) has two very moving monologues about his condition and the importance of memories. They touched me deeply and yes, my eyes watered.
Amidst the bleak tone of the film Nolan isn’t afraid to toss in some situational humour that works as well (the scenes with Stephen Tobolowsky made me laugh out loud and at the same time depressed the shite out of me). The humour actually helped pull me deeper into the film, it mirrors reality and I forgot that I was in a theatre. That’s how life is; sometimes we find laughs in the darkest of situations. The film echoed that perfectly.
A truly original piece of celluloid has arrived. "Memento" is a film that plays with our expectations. Every time I thought I knew where I stood, I was tossed a curve ball and rendered off balance. Kind of like real life. I don’t want to say too much about this film cause I don’t want to ruin it for anybody. Let me just add that this isn’t just a movie; it’s an emotional experience. Memento this!
Some blood here and there but nothing too graphic.
There’s no denying that Guy Pearce (Leonard) is a great looking man. Add to that his strong acting abilities and you get a riveting performance. Here he carries the film; I have a newfound respect for the guy. Joe Pantoliano (Teddy) excels at playing the charming weasel. He’s funny but still menacing. We never know where he stands. Spot on casting. Carrie-Ann Moss (Natalie) plays her part’s many shades very well; she too kept me off balance.
T & A
Guy Pearce flashes his butt real fast and Carrie-Ann keeps her Mosses hidden again. Do it already!
A visual feast. I’m a sucker for style and was well served here. Nolan films this puppy in color and black and white, offers us some flashy quick cuts and totally messes with our minds. Sometimes we jump in the middle of a scene totally disoriented as to where we are or how we got there. Nolan’s directing style really takes us into the unstable world of the protagonist. Can we call this "method" directing?
A somber and sad score. The music really amplifies the already powerful moments of the film.
This flick is far from being a straight shooter; it will leave the "mainstream" audience in the dust. The rest of us are in for a painful but delightful ride. "Memento" is the strongest film I have seen this year. While watching this movie YOU ARE the main character and you’re going through hell. I left the theatre with a grey cloud over my head and a lot of self-analysis followed. I recommend you see this film with a good night sleep behind you and by yourself. This one really works your brain. Good luck!
Memento was shot in 25 days in Altadena, Pasadena, Pacoima and parts of the San Fernando Valley.
Memento is based on a short story by the director’s brother: Jonathan Nolan