Memento (2001)
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Review Date: March 19, 2001
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Producers: Jennifer Todd & Suzanne Todd
Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby
Carrie-Anne Moss as Natalie
Joe Pantoliano as Teddy
I am seriously not going to say much about this film's plot other than to point out that it's about a guy who has a rare disorder which deletes his short-term memory and that he's essentially trying to find the person who raped and murdered his wife. Now strap on the mental cap, do not turn away from the screen for more than a second, and enjoy the groovy ride.
Every now and again, a film comes out and reminds us of how cool movie watching can be. How a film can just take a hold of your mind, massage it a little here, toss you a little clue there, show you something here, and allow you the opportunity to take part in a real-life mystery of the mind. Wow, this movie blew me away! I mean, I'm still thinking about it as I type this, and I dig that kind of thing! The puzzle of the story, the development of the characters, the unsure nature of the entire premise soaked in lotsa style, innovative filmmaking techniques and superb acting (Guy Pearce deserves a lot of recognition for this one). But before you read the next sentence, you must also appreciate the fact that this film is not for everyone. It is a film designed for people who love to think at the movies. Now don't me wrong, I love popcorn cheese-fests as much as the next guy (see my ode to such in my review of ARMAGEDDON, natch!), but I also love all types of other films too, and boy, is this ever another type of film! The basic premise of this movie is an interesting one to begin with. Here's a guy who cannot access his short term memory and he's looking for a murderer. Now you'd think that a "regular" murder investigation would be difficult enough as it is, but without any short-term memory? How does he do it? How does he know how things are evolving, who to trust, who's lying, who's talking behind his back and if he's getting any closer...if he can't remember something he did fifteen minutes ago!?!

Anyway, needless to say, this quandary is one that is delved into completely in this movie, and within that, the entire structure of the film is remarkable. The deconstruction of the story, the actual participation of the audience as we, essentially, learn things along with the protagonist, the suspense, the humor (yes, there are actually a few very funny moments in this movie as well) and the denouement, which boggles the mind as it unfolds, and continues to boggle as you walk out of the theatre. This is the kind of movie that'll have you talking about it all the way down the stairs, into your specific mode of transportation, out of your transport, into your house and onto the phone for even more bla-blas. The Arrow and I dissected this puppy for at least an hour after the movie, and continued to learn new things as we conversed. A triumph. A genuinely original film which makes you want to see it over and over and over again.

I don't think I've ever seen a film which gives the viewer a greater understanding of what it's like to be in the skin of the film's lead character. This movie really does make you feel like you are learning things along with the main man, and as his past begins to clear up, so do the events leading up to the film's eventual ending. Now does all that sound like an interesting idea to you? Are you grooving on that concept or does the whole thing just leave you shrugging your shoulders? Well, if you're not in the mood to think or ingest loads of information, as you struggle to hold onto the information which was passed along to you right before that, I suggest you not take part in the viewing of this film, cause you will most likely not appreciate it. But for those people, those few proud men and women, those who love to watch movies and talk movies and shit movies, I tell you, there probably isn't going to be many better films than this one this year, so buy that ticket, shut out all those external circumstances and people (in other words, don't see it in a busy theater or with someone who wants to talk crap while you watch) and get ready to allow your mind to be thoroughly f*cked through the ringer...but in a good way! :) Hitchcock and Kubrick would be proud. Thank God...this movie has single-handedly restored my hope in the rest of the films coming out this year. Woo-hoo...bring it on!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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