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Memento
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Memento More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Interesting Concept, Flawed Execution (5/10)

6/10
Author: David Nash (dbn3) from Texas
1 February 2002

(I saw this on DVD, YMMV)

Summary:

Leonard Shelby is a man who has no short term memory since being injured defending his wife an attack that resulted in her rape and murder. For some reason that is not really clear, the police have never caught the attackers, so Leonard has vowed to hunt down and kill them. However, he cannot remember a thing that has happened since the day he lost his short-term memory and ten minutes ago. Therefore, he is constantly having no memory of why he is doing things and uses a series of pictures and notes to help sort it out.

To give the same feeling to the audience, the director shows the scenes in reverse order. The opening scene of the movie essentially has Leonard looking at a picture of Teddy with the words "kill him" written underneath in his handwriting. Leonard proceeds to kill Teddy. Just as that is all Leonard has to go on, that is all the audience has. Then the movie backs up a little bit and shows Leonard gleaning the last bit of information that convinces him Teddy is the killer and we see him actually writing "kill him" on Teddy's picture. This backing up continues until we find out the real secrets in the movie.

The Good:

Guy Pierce gives a very good performance as Leonard.

The transitions between the scenes are very smooth. There is just enough overlap at the start and end of each scene that the transitions are very easy to follow. In addition, there is a small part of the film that runs forward in time, mostly Leonard telling a backstory to someone on the phone. These are easily distinguished by being shot in black and white, while the rest of the film is in color.

The Bad:

There is an unrelenting lust for death that drives Leonard. No one, not even Teddy who might be a cop, discusses the idea of vigilantism. That Leonard should hunt down and kill whoever he thinks might be the killer, the justice system be damned, is never questioned. It is the mindless writing of a bad action movie at work here.

Although the reverse order presentation is easy to follow, it began to wear thin. Perhaps it is because, and other reviewers have mentioned, that this story told in chronological order would be weak, at best. The film relies too much on this one trick of storytelling without anything else to really back it up.

The clincher that something is desperately wrong is the pat summation speech at the end of the film. Throughout the film, the reliance is on how Leonard is going to remember some particular fact, but we are only given the quickest glances of the actual results of Leonard's investigations. In an attempt to make a rather dull story seem mysterious, the makers have told us so little about the story that they make up for the error with "the speech that explains everything."

5/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Who needs $20,000,000 actors?

9/10
Author: Peaches-11
31 January 2002

Quite simply this is one of the best films I've seen with actors and actresses of whom I've barely seen. This is NOT a cult film which is popular by some weird twist of fate. This IS a solid film; well acted, directed and definitely well written. Although I have seen this basic plot twice before, I haven't seen it in a movie or so well done. The combination of Leonard's brain damage and the reverse chronologic filming allow one of the most bizarre plot twists I've seen. Thespian for Thespian, one of the best-done films to come out of Hollywood.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Big fuzz, what for?

5/10
Author: Jonas P from Oslo, Norway
22 January 2002

It seems like users of this great site rank Memento up there along with true classics, and some reviews explain why.

Personally I can't understand the enthusiasm for the movie. Although it's more than a year since I saw, I remember the disappointment I felt when I left the theatre (many of my friends had recommended it).

It's ok I'd say, at certain times even good, but definitely not fantastic. I like the atmosphere and the cinematography, but the story is really not that great. It may not be true, but I like the idea that the Nolans had a story, with no curve or central conflict, so their solution to this problem, was reverse the story. In my opinion a rather cheap call. It works only because the audience is not used to a work with a text this way, starting with the end.

Personally I had a much better experience with Sabu's Monday (1999).

I warmly recommend it even if you liked Memento, and you probably did.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

If you like to just switch off and enjoy a film...give this a big miss..

5/10
Author: Ausmusis from England
11 January 2002

Hi All...

Seen lots of positive comments for this film, and to be fair , it is a very well made, well thought out film. Guy Pearce is very good, and Joe Pantoliano in my opinion is very underrated (anyone who's seen Bound knows just how good he is in the right film).

But all that aside..

This is a film that you really have to be in the mood to see.

It's a very difficult film to watch, and is not I feel aimed at your average Joe who usually would like to switch off and be entertained (thank heaven for Dogma and From Dusk 'til Dawn)..

So ...all in all..not a bad film, but definitely not in my top ten. (probably not top 100)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Disappointed after all the hype

6/10
Author: cjdouglas
5 January 2002

okay, I finally rented this movie. I didn't know anything about this movie except for a few friendly reviews from some armchair critics. so I'm going to put in my opinion now.

it didn't do it for me. I gave this movie a 6/10 because although the acting was really well done - you could see exactly where this movie was going - in that the movie essentially starts at the end and goes virtually nowhere.

I guess I'm just not in to the jumping time lines that take you back and forth in order to further the plot and understand why he wrote the stuff on the back of the photos.

It was mediocre after hearing everybody saying "oh yeah, this was an awesome flick!"...just don't seem to understand what all the hubbub was about.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Hitchcock wannabe

6/10
Author: Movie Review from United States
5 December 2001

Strange movie with some twists - ala Hitchcock. But it was a bit wierd. Story would go forwards and backwards. The "mementos" were just not that realistic to be believed. It seemed the guy lost his short term memory for most things but not where he put his little memos. He always managed to find those - even the new ones. An amazing feat for someone with zero short term memory. And throughout the film he would constantly make notes and read the notes - but he never seemed to be bothered with the thousands of tatoos he had. He belonged in a lunatic asylum. I never would have guessed a film about some chowderhead writing and reading sticky notes would've been so popular. Should've been called the sticky note boy. 6/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Vastly overrated

6/10
Author: vizli from United States
28 November 2001



Well, I fell for the hype after noticing that Memento had been voted into the All Time Top Ten and rented the DVD. What a waste of time. Not since Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers" have I've seen such an example of technique masquerading as a movie.

Ooh. The movie starts from the end, how cool and original. I suspect few movie devotees would have been nearly as interested if the film has been in normal linear mode. After straining to notice each hidden clue, I was dumbfounded when this "classic" ended. The star - Guy Pierce - gave a wooden "Keanu" performance, although in all fairness, he was given little to work with. I couldn't give a damn about any of the characters. The constant cut backs became mind numbingly annoying. No, I did NOT enjoy this movie.

News flash. The emperor had no clothes and this movie stunk!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

How is this film in the top 50?

6/10
Author: markyb from Utah, USA
24 November 2001

Very clever. I think the idea of running the film back to front was a pretty good one, and the effort was respectable. Although this film was fun to watch and try to keep up with, it was far from the greatest film ever made. Perhaps in the 50 to 100 best ever range.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

if only people ACTUALLY liked complex movies...

5/10
Author: jamesbondandq from vancouver
12 November 2001

the most annoying thing about this movie is that people claim to like it because it's so revolutionary in it's style and complexity... Cause then i look back on other movies, like 'lost highway' and everyone hates it. Well folks this movie isn't all that revolutionary. First off i'd like to mention a certain convience of this movie, how can the main character remember that he has a memory disorder, yet can't remember anything else? Think about it, he'd constantly live in the present, and be completely unaware of living in the present, the only way he'd know he was living in the present would be if someone was there to tell him that. So that's a MAJOR plot hole. that's not the worst thing about the movie, the worst thing is that the character's are flat, the plot is flat - C'mon a plot about a guy searching for the guy who killed his wife, with NO twists (if seen without the contrived plot)boring characters, and lame dialogue. Watched in regular motion this movie is not interesting at all. Some people were comparing this to Lynch. Well, comparing it to what lynch has done so far, he ALWAYS uses interesting characters and great atmosphere to tell his stories, not just some lame plot contrivance. The movie isn't terrible, it has it's moments, but it's annoying that it's getting so much praise when movies like lost highway get trashed. Look at Pulp Fiction, Tarantino didn't use just the plot contrivence to make his movie interesting... oh ya and i didn't re read this, bollocks to all the grammar and spelling errors!

5/10 Boring, contrived story, with flat characters, the only saving grace is the surprises that occasionally pop up. Although the movie is ultimately completely let down by a REALLY lame ending, c'mon, they could've thought of something more interesting... If they had i would've considered giving this a 6 or 7. NOT A MASTERPIECE ~!!! Watch Pulp Fiction or The Killing if you wanna see a uniquely told story with Good characters and good dialogue.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

OK, but too clever for its own good

Author: Joe Stemme from United States
14 October 2001

Come on, folks. As I write this, MEMENTO is listed as the 9th BEST FILM OF ALL TIME? Yeah, right. I'm not going to come down too hard on this, but this is one of those films which is so concerned with how cleverly it tricks the audience (6TH SENSE, USUAL SUSPECTS) that it inevitably will be a let down when all the plot mechanics are revealed as a giant ruse. Not to say that clever plotting is bad, but the final results have to be a revelation - or carry a deeper resonance (i.e. THE CONVERSATION, Godard's LA CHINOISE or Bunuel's masterpiece BELLE DE JOUR) not just a cheap cinematic trick. Check out Nolan's FOLLOWING for a better, less cynical, treatment of a similar theme.

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