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It's not until a film like Memento comes along, or that you personally
have to deal with someone close who suffers a form of this subject to
hand, that you get jolted to remember just how your memory is such a
prized and treasured thing - and crucially that it's one of your key
Christopher and Jonathan Nolan crafted one of the best films of 2000 based on those facets of the human condition. Their protagonist is Leonard Shelby, played with stupendous believability by Guy Pearce, who is suffering from a memory amnesia caused by a trauma to the head as he tried to aide his wife who was raped and murdered. He can remember things before the incident, but anything post that and he can't form a memory. So who can he trust? Does he know any of the few people who appear to be in his life at the present time? He tattoos his body to help him remember, constantly writes notes to keep him alert in his now alien world, while all the time he is on the search for the man who ruined his life.
Christopher Nolan plants the audience right into Leonard's world. By using a reverse story telling structure it's deliberately complex and ingenious given that it opens with the ending! It has been argued that it's trickery for trickery sake, style over substance, but the way each scene is built upon in the narrative is a thing of high quality, it's all relevant and demands the closest of attention from the viewer, where cheekily we are ourselves asked to form memories of prior narrative passages. Mystery is strong throughout, the characters currently in Leonard's life may have different means and motives, it keeps us alert, with the confusion, lies, manipulations, enigmas and amnesia angles booming with neo-noir vibrancy. And the Nolan's know their noir of course, adding a narrator who is hard to define or trust himself!
The reverse structure wasn't new in 2000, but Christopher Nolan picks up the idea and adds new strands to it, simultaneously bringing his visual ticks as David Julyan's musical score shifts from elegiac forebodings to pulse pounding dread, and as evidenced by the darling easter egg option that allows one to watch it in chronological order, it's a damn fine thriller without the reverse trickery anyway. Super. 9/10
Excellent movie. This movie shows Nolan's early spirit in movie making,
as this is his second feature film. However this is not for everyone.
Even if you're a die-hard Nolan fan, you still might not like it. It
was in my cup of tea, so I loved it. The movie is a complete mind
bender. It doesn't play in order. It jumps from the past to present a
TON of times, so it can be a hell lot of confusing. It's a slow movie,
but fantastic. It grabs your attention from the start till the end. The
suspense builds stronger as every second ticks by. If you haven't seen
it go see it now, because in the second part of my review I'm going to
talk about the ending. The ending is something to talk about. There is
a plot twist at the end, rather twistS. It is one of the most
unpredictable twists ever.
As many of you have seen the movie, you will know the ending is completely mind blowing. I never expected that Leo had killed the attacker over a year ago, and that now he kept forgetting and believed that the killer is still alive. Also another crazy twist was when Teddy told Leo that Leo's wife survived the attack, and that Leo himself killed her by accident with an insulin overdose. The real shocker was when it was revealed that Leo was mixing Sammy's life with his life. Everything that was said about Sammy, indeed revealed Leo's life. Totally mind blowing. There were like 3-4 twists at the end, which blew me away. To be honest, I didn't even expect one of the twists. I was blown away because there were many twists at the end, and none of them were predictable. From all the movies I've seen this movie had the second biggest twist ending, right after "The Prestige", also by Nolan.
This movie is very suspenseful and interesting. It doesn't let your interest leave until the very end. In short, fantastic movie and it deserves at least one watch. For me many more watches. Nolan never disappoints. Not one of his movies disappointed me, and I've seen all his movies, including his short films.
Memento is one of the most original, and stunning movies I have ever seen. Memento is close to an epic masterpiece. They take a simple plot, and mix it up with all these different chronologically strategies. (This time using several chronologically mixed scenes). One man wanting revenge for those who killed and raped his wife, his memory the only thing stopping him. But Memento takes you through a journey of strategy, notes, pictures, black-mail and surprises. It certainly lives up to the hype, and remains as Nolan's best movie. A guarantee I can almost give to all viewers is that: they'll be things that seem a little mixed up after your first viewing, that's normal. I have watched Memento two times, closely and yet, still they're a few unanswered questions. Memento delivers in all aspects, a intriguingly thriller with an opinionated ending.
if you are interested to explore another film about the
subjectiveness of 'memory'', check out this brilliant film from
China, Yangguang Canlan de Rizi (aka In the Heat of the Sun).
i tried to rewind the film and see how it would be like to watch a
film from the end to the beginning, i saw repetition, jumping editing
and this covers the incomplete storyline underneath. it left with me
a terrible headache. it is a hollow story, with shallow characters
which come from nowhere.
i do not have a clue why it can be ranked #12 of the list.
having been given recommendations from friends to watch this film, i duly booked a night in to watch it. what a mistake. i believe this is the most over-rated film in history. ok, the film was original yes. but entertaining? no, not in the slightest. even after watching it on another 2 occasions, my views haven't changed.!
A very manipulative movie that constantly tries to fool the audience. It runs in reverse, but only halfway up the story line where everything that went before is called into question. The director is a David Lynch wannabe, but the expostion is SLOW and BORING.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First time I saw this movie, I got a little confused, but, at the same
time, I was amazed by the director Chris Nolan's work. The history is
so fantastic and the format of the movie is so audacious that i became
a real fan, bought the movie and watched it every day for like two
Nolan talks to us in the movie through the little details. The space in Lenny's chest is one that becomes interesting in, at least, three different moments: when he shows it to Natalie at her place, when he sees himself pointing at it in a Polaroid picture and in the end, when he remembers his wife while going to the tattoo shop. In this last scene, the space appears filled with the message "I've done it". I believe this blank space summarizes his pointless odyssey, I mean: it will always be blank, although he knows, deep inside, that it should be filled with that message. It is a proof that he won't stop.
The way Lenny feels his hand aching as he speaks to Natalie (after beating her), the way all people use him to their own purposes, the little details that prove that Sammy Jankins' history is his own (the scene with a needle that flashes his mind as he lays on Natalie's sofa and the talking with Teddy in the end/beginning), his deepest reflections about his condition ("How am I supposed to heal if I can't feel time?" or "I can't remember to forget you"), all those elements are the ingredients for this real masterpiece. A movie that proves to us in a weird, yet ingenious, way how we lie to ourselves to live, how far can we go to give our lives a meaning and face the awful truth.
Christopher Nolan is a magician. No other way to put it.
This movie ended up on my top ten list when I saw it a few years ago. It is one of the most original thrillers to have come from America and it supposedly became popular solely on the basis of word of mouth.
Leonard Shelby(Guy Pearce in an excellent performance) is a man who has short term memory loss. He is a man on a mission. He is determined to find out who killed his wife. He has various ways to remind himself of small facts - writing them on notes and sticking them on the wall, tattooing facts on his body and so on. The story also involves two other characters - Natalie and a man named Teddy who seems to have a shady past. There is also the story of Sammy Jenkis which is told in bits and pieces by Leonard in disjointed scenes. Sammy also had the same problem which led to Sammy being placed in a mental institution.
The main feature of this movie is that it goes backwards. Which means that the scene that follows is actually the incident which happens prior to the current situation. This is quite demanding for the viewer and people with short attention spans may not appreciate this movie so much. Repeated viewings may be required to actually understand what is going on in the movie.
What I liked about the movie was the fact that despite the complex and confusing style, it is ultimately a movie which is not inaccessible. It is no art film which might bore viewers to tears. It is a fast moving thriller which can keep a viewer hooked and this is what separates Memento from other such complex thrillers. Most importantly, it is the little facts and clues that are the most interesting. The loose ends are tied up expertly at the end with such brilliance that I am still at awe at the execution even several years after watching this movie.
Overall, it is in fact quite depressing. There is not one likable character in this movie, except for Leonard, and we see how his medical condition is used by people to serve their own interests. It presents a bleak view of human nature, in many ways.
As far as the performances are concerned, Guy Pearce is fabulous as the determined but confused Leonard Shelby. Carrie Anne moss is brilliant as the mysterious Natalie who may have other motives in helping Leonard. She has the right kind of mix of beauty and mysteriousness which make her perfect for the role. Joe Pantaliano as Teddy makes a big impact in this movie. His dry humour and screen presence make this role one of my favourite performances on film.
Altogether, it is one of the best films of recent years and it is exactly the kind of movie I like.
"Memento" is a sleaze-ball suspense movie with a twist. As if you don't
know it yet, the scenes are played all jumbled and out of order.
What could have turned into just a nasty trick on the viewer is actually very well-done here. You see things from the perspective of our main character who suffers from a bizarre memory loss condition. Rather than explain the plot, I will just say that if you plan on watching this movie just once, get ready to change your plans. You will need to watch it twice to fully GET it. It moves too fast for the viewer and by the time it's over you will tell yourself that you GET it, but you don't.
To those who say there are no holes in this film I scoff at you. Why does Leonard have no memory loss in the murder sequence? He remembers long enough to drive all the way to that abandoned building and then wait for the murderer. In other scenes, he forgets what he is doing after two minutes. Maybe he is just psychotic and made the whole condition up in his mind to excuse a rampage? The hypotheses are endless. Personally, I'd rather watch a movie that just makes sense on it's own and no matter what you say, this one doesn't. "Memento" tries to do what "Pulp Fiction" did but takes itself way too seriously. The viewers are treated to a narrative from the character Teddy at the end when he has to explain the situation to Leonard thus explaining the movie to us. Kind of cheap, Nolan.
One thing is for sure: Guy Pearce is one of the best actors alive.
7 out of 10, kids.
When I saw Memento in theatres I left feeling numb. The film did absolutely
nothing for me---in fact, I found it intensely awful. Hearing so many
positive things about the film and taken by the possibility that it
been my mood, I decided to revisit it when it appeared on my movie cable
channel. I found myself appreciating Mr. Nolan's directing more at home,
Mr. Pearce's performance stood out the second time around. What remained
same, however, was the complete lack of interest I had in the story. It
seems Mr. Nolan was so pleased with the gimmick he had that there was
atttention paid to generating suspense and creating involving and/or
compelling characters. There were moments at home when I was entertained by
the film, but I was never fully interested in it. If I really want to watch
a reverse chronology film I'll take "The Betrayal" over this any day. My
Sidenote: I look forward to Insomnia, however, if only because I know that one will have an interesting story.
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