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Reviews & Ratings for
Memento More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Nice Editing, Poor Film

Author: (dasaffe) from Oregon
15 August 2001

Perhaps this film's success will signal the transition of film from a medium of words to a medium of pictures, but that doesn't mean i have to approve. The problem with Memento is that the film shown backwards (ie without the gimmick) would not be watchable. The plot develops at a slow pace, the dialogue is riddled with ughs, every time Guy says he has a "disability" as an example (South Park speaks more intelligently about the topic). The acting is flat, which i think could be attributed to the filming process during which the actors have said they weren't told much about their roles. The film is mostly predictible, barring plot twists which seldom make sense due to the backwardity. One thing that this film proves even moreso than The Limey (a better, if average, movie) is that editing counts. Another thing this movie proves, except this time by bad example, MUSIC counts. The score in Memento is typical pad swells and synth strings, it only hinders a film which would be much more riveting with no music (or perhaps some odd backwards soundscapes). While the directer immerses you in the world of the amnesiac, it's not a world worth inhabiting, as nothing is really happening. Memento is sort of like throwing a party but spending all your money on the band and not being able to afford invitations. It's just you sitting alone, enjoying the show of your life (the editing), but wondering why you bothered. 6 of 10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

average movie with a good finale

Author: teslar
6 August 2001

Memento has an extremely artificial feel to it. Given the way the story is told, this was probably unavoidable, but I find that it hinders true immersion into the film.

The other problem is that it takes absolutely ages to build up even a hint of suspense. After the initial surprise at the storytelling has faded away, one finds oneself sitting there, just waiting for something - anything - to happen.

Still - eventually the film does start and from that point until the end it leaves a very good impression. The storyline, even though it's extremely artificial, has been carefully plotted out and I certainly appreciate that it wasn't an easy task in this film.

In the end thus, it's a film worth seeing once... but it's nothing you'd want to watch over and over again.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

empty calories

Author: (mbrown-7) from New York
27 July 2001

This movie has a lot of promise and is an enjoyable watch but it leaves you empty and unfullfilled as if you sat down and ate some cotton candy instead of a well rounded meal. The plot had too many holes and although stylistically interesting in the end nothing made sense.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fun, but nothing new.

Author: Antero Virto from Helsinki, Finland
26 July 2001

First off, this movie is not bad.

I liked the acting and dialogue, but so many hazy "mental-movies" are already made, that this offered nothing new. It seemed very artistic and unique, but when concentrating in the plot... bah.

The style of describing things in the movie is good, but the content is average. That's why I didn't rate it excellent nor awful because it's neither one.

It's just a movie.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: ron (skoghee) from Amsterdam, Netherlands
12 June 2001

On the twelfth position in the top 250 of the IMDB I noticed a rather new movie that I hadn't seen yet nor heard from called MEMENTO. After reading some of the reviews I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It is never good to expect a masterpiece when you go see a movie, but the least I expected from this one was that it was going to be pretty damned good ! Unfortunately MEMENTO, for me, didn't live up to its expectations . The attempt to be original by twisting and turning the sequences in my eyes only had an effect in the scene where Guy Pearce hits Carrie-Ann Moss. The rest of the film is rather dull, you wait for a climax that never comes. Many critics will disagree with me but just a six out of ten will do for me.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

OK, I give up!

Author: CarpenterKen from Orlando
8 June 2001

I'm sorry, I just don't get it! In an attempt to rip-off "The Sixth Sense," this movie makes NO SENSE! Even with the creative, but odd, reversing of circumstance, the poor juxtaposition of facts leaves the viewer completely baffled. If you know what it all means, please contact me -- I'm not to proud to admit that I don't have a clue what was going on!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Good STUDENT Film

Author: Bob-45 from Savannah, GA
2 June 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can't believe the number of people that have been taken in by "Memento". Sure, it's a clever idea to start a murder mystery at the end and work back to the beginning. However, it's just as well that "Memento" did it that way, because the story does NOT stand up to even average scrutiny. Worse, it is played out in a sluggish manner, the conclusion of which would be obvious about 15 minutes before the denoument, had the film makers not resorted to cheating (Something a genuinely great film such as "The Sixth Sense" never did.

The always excellent Guy Pierce plays a former insurance investigator who is searching for the men who raped and killed his wife and left him with brain damage, leaving him incapable of creating new memories. This forces Pierce to take some drastic actions (including tatooing his body with important clues) in order to maintain enough coherency to pursue his quest. He is aided(?) by a waitress (Carrie-Ann) Moss and a mystery man (Joe Palantiano). As, I said, the story plays itself out in reverse. That's a pretty easy task, even for a student film maker. Just edit the story out of sequence. Big deal!


1. The film relies on coincidence. Joe Palantiano's character has the same initials as the rapist. 2. Joe Palantiano is an undercover cop. Yet, he never tells Pierce after the first killing, even when he knows Pierce could kill him. Certainly, if he is hanging around for the money, he might try looking in the trunk of Pierce's car. Pierce probably doesn't know it is there. 3. Pierce has false memories which deceive the audience. 4. Dodd, the "big time" drug dealer comes alone, even though a HUGE amount of cash is involved. By the way, just WHERE does a guy with no memory hide a huge stash of cash? 5. Dodd is easily subdued by Pierce. 6. Moss's characters actions are inconsistent.

An interesting experiment, but rather sluggish and with unsympathetic characters.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I feel somewhat cheated...

Author: bizarrono1 from Minneapolis, MN
30 May 2001

I saw this movie after reading and hearing rave reviews for it, and I must admit that I was disappointed. I paid too much attention to its supposedly-confusing details after some of my friends (and printed reviews) told me the goings-on were murky, I was led to believe that if I blinked I'd miss out on something that might have been important.

(The following could be considered to be spoiling, so be prepared!) It is unfortunate I had been "informed" about this movie like I had, and here is why: the ending raps up its precedings perfectly, the whole thing has no ambiguity to it whatsoever like some people have been saying it does. Lenny's (he being the main character) tale ultimately turns out to be a psychologically- rather than a physically-based one, and I was let down because that felt somewhat cheap to me. I got to the end and received something I didn't really care about, it (he?) just wasn't very interesting. Simply chalk that up to my personal taste?

As I think about it more, to a certain and perhaps large degree I felt the way I did due to my unmet expectations, but still, even w/o the ones I had I would say that the story was unsatisfyingly executed. It is rather hard for truly rewarding films which use characters' deep psychologies as their real subjects to be made in my opinion, and this one didn't quite pull it off, not even close actually. For one thing I think too much effort was spent on being "clever" with its method of storytelling-in-reverse instead of trying to be compelling in legitimate ways, say by having characters with more depth: all in all I considered it to be a slightly above-average B-movie. So, after pondering the movie a bit I give it a 6 after my initial response of 7.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Inventive but, in the end, insubstantial.

Author: Jack_Asterisk from Tallahasse, Florida
24 May 2001

Application of the sequential flashback technique is done very well for a while, and the technique as well as the protagonist's condition is cleverly exploited in several scenes to good effect. However, it seems to me that this is one of those movies that, upon additional viewings, becomes less substantial rather than more substantial. That's because the development of the characters is rather limited and the various twists of plot, done so cleverly, nonetheless fall prey to inconsistency and, eventually, little more than melodrama. There are any number of problems with plausibility that, in the end, cannot be overlooked because of the film's reliance on its regressively expanding unravelling/complication of plot, and there's not enough in the development of the characters to rescue it from the corner(s) into which it paints itself. An ambitious effort, though. Pretty good acting, too. Not sure if I'd see it again, though.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

As Hollow as it is Pretentious

Author: chrishart94
17 July 2016

Memento is a film that I will never be able to understand the hype around. A curious but completely uninvolving piece from a director often criticised for being all brain and no heart (maybe the signs for that began earlier than most think). The whole draw of the film was its backwards moving narrative which reveals the details of the story in reverse order. I can only ask, what happens when that isn't enough? Take that away and this is a lacklustre, rambling, confused film that is trying to bite off more than it can chew.

No matter how much you try to get away from it, the film is based entirely around a gimmick. Sure it's an inventive one, but you take that away and you're left with a bland murder mystery that plays out with equally dull individuals. Our lead character Leonard suffers from a form of amnesia, were he can't create new memories, and is trying to figure out who killed his wife by using clues that he has already created. This structure itself is just a mess. We see Leonard write on polaroid's and try to recall events, we see a scene play out, then another scene happen which is connected to the beginning of what we just saw and so on. I'm not exaggerating, over two thirds of the film are exactly that. It gets tiresome about half an hour in. There's no suspense or mystery because we've just seen what will happen, so what's there to be invested in? How he got there isn't of any interest.

The film is ice cold. Too distant. Far out of reach. Way too impersonal. There is no way the audience can get connected to anything that takes place. The film makes no attempt to get us to sympathise with Leonard bar his mental obstacle, which isn't enough, and the rest of the characters are just sleazebags or wholly unpleasant. The actions of the characters make little sense, even once you find out their true motivation. Teddy's role is one which should have been mysterious and gripping, but it started off as baffling and ended up making no sense whatsoever by the time the film concludes. I actually realised that I wouldn't have cared at all about anything that takes place in the film if it had been told in chronological order. The further it progressed (or is it regressed?), the more detached and bored I felt.

In Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano you have some fine actors that are completely wasted in parts that don't allow them to do anything of interest. All of them are shackled to the plot and restrained as a result. I feel for Pearce the most, he's playing a character so thinly sketched and loaded with quirks that there's virtually nothing he can do with the role. It's here that the entire narrative device falls down too. If it is trying to put us in his shoes then it fails because we feel nothing for the character. Beyond that Leonard is simply a muddled lead, and not just because of amnesia. He has tattoos all over his body that offer him information which he doesn't remember getting and yet he trusts what is written completely. If he has no short-term memory then how can he believe any of the details to be correct? That's not even nit-picking, that's a major flaw that isn't explained. There are a host of plot holes like that based around the entire memory loss area.

This is clearly Nolan's attempt to craft a twisting film that can measure up to the ones made by the likes of Kubrick and Hitchcock. Something deeply psychological and with a noir twinge, with the reverse chronology being an added bonus. His first problem is that he doesn't create suspense properly. Partly because we're already a step ahead of the characters, partly because he's given us characters that we cannot gain a connection to. Then you have the writing. The dialogue is painfully simple at times, just lacking any dynamism or sharpness that could hold our attention. It's as if Nolan thinks the characters have to spell out what already a simple plot because we're too stupid to get it. I have little problems with his camera-work and the shooting style is vibrant, but it's clear that this is his debut and it's one he fails to get a grasp of. Maybe he was trying to be too ambitious by going straight for such a story first time round, I'm not too sure.

The film ends with a twist that is so nonsensical on a grand scale that I can't help but feel angered that I sat through the entire thing. All of that for such a lousy payoff. What is key to note is that there is no substance to anything. It is a very basic mystery wrapped up in a gimmick that will make people think it's doing something unique and propelled by characters that are as one-note as possible. It is borderline pretentious. It's almost like people think that because the narrative style is unique that the film must be exceptional. Well the main thing stopping that is that it's not remotely entertaining or interesting to watch. It doesn't matter how clever a film is, if it's a dull mess then it's a dull mess.

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