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"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.
First of all, this is not a horrible movie. It does keep you mildly
interested. But it has several, fatal flaws.
One reviewer mentioned that the film was too clever by half. I totally concur. The film went out of its way to create something unique, and in the process lost the entire narrative structure. So when it ends, you barely even know if it happened. In fact, you don't know that it happened. If Leonard was delusional about Sammy, then perhaps he was delusional about all the characters in the movie. The fact is, you will never know.
The problem is, this doesn't make for a good film. Good films are those where the narrative art is enhanced by the photography. By this measure, the movie fails, as the photography does almost nothing to tell the story, and Guy Pearce is as milquetoast a leading man as there is. The fact is, the film is about trying to put you in his shoes, to show you what Leonard must have felt like living with no memory, but you end up feeling nothing at all because he is such a bland character actor.
I would compare this film in some ways to Se7en--except that Se7en does a much better job telling the story (even if the ending wasn't at all surprising). The major difference is that you care about what happens to the characters in Se7en. There is no empathy with Leonard, partly because the film never gives you the chance because it's too busy being clever.
Perhaps people will rate it highly, but it is definitely not a Citizen Kane or Casablanca, a movie where you can take it out and watch it over and over again. It's far too dismal for that. It's more a movie like Resevoir Dogs, where you like the idea (and perhaps the execution), but the way the story is put together keeps it from being a classic.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know, this movie has everything to be an awesome movie. The main
actors, Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss deserve an Oscar for such a
professional acting. The originality of "Memento" is also pleasant, I
myself had never seen a similar story in a movie. But something in this
plot didn't satisfy me. The story was very confusing, there are
flashbacks all the time, and it becomes boring once we get lost in the
I have to admit I didn't make it to the end... as stated before, once I got lost in the story it became very boring. And it's not my fault as a viewer to don't get things straight: they (the writers) are supposed to make me want to follow their thoughts, otherwise movies wouldn't be classified as entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Imagine you're in a bathroom and you see a bottle of whiskey. And you
have to question whether that means you're drunk.
Imagine a woman gets you so angry you hit her in the face and bloody her lip. She walks out of the room, but returns in a few minutes. You ask her who hit her and she tells you some other guy's name. You vow to punish that guy.
Imagine you're running down the street. Some other guy is running too. At first you think you are chasing him. Then, he fires a gun at you and you realize you are the one being chased.
This is Leonard's problem. He's out to find and kill the man who killed his wife. But he can't remember what happened five minutes ago. He uses notes, tattoos and Polaroids to keep track of information he has learned. But some of this information is wrong.
And get this Leonard's mission of revenge is told in scenes that are backwards-sequenced.
Ingenious. That's the only word to describe this outstanding puzzle movie. Anyone unwilling to devote very close attention to a film should avoid this one. Those willing will find it immensely rewarding.
I like highly contrived movies. Ironically, I'm not a big science fiction fan because I like the contrivances to be within the realm of present-day plausibility, if that makes any sense. If you share that sensibility, check out "Memento."
The majority of people on this comments board attribute this film's
to its very original editing style. The film is built upon this style,
showing you a present-time snippet of the main character which leaves you
wondering about why he got there and what he's doing. The film then
continues showing you a snippet of the immediate preceding past of the
character, and so on backwards in time helping you understand the
of the film.
That's where the movie's originality stops. The plot itself is filled with
huge holes. While the premise is interesting, it is hardly plausible that
someone with no short-term memory would not be 'assisted' by society in
way, nor that he could not have a notebook handcuffed to him or something
rather than all the tattoos.
I found the movie rather predictable and did not really care about the
after about halfway through.
Still, an interesting and innovative movie-making style with a neat, if unplausible, situation for the main character. This coupled with sometimes very unconvincing acting by the main actor (although it is a hard role, he never really pulls it off) and a wholly boring plot earns this movie a 7 in my book.
If you want to see a real whodunnit type movie that will haunt you for a long time to come, try Thesis by Spanish director Almenabar which I saw last night and save Memento for a day you want to study film rather than enjoy it.
I'd heard a lot of great things about this film before going out to rent
it. But once I did, I must say I was not extremely thrilled with it as
the rest of the world seems to be.
It is a brilliant and creative idea of how to make a movie (backward revealing of pieces of the story with every new scene) but unless I missed something, I believe that this is all this film had to offer. The acting was good, the story was good, the movie was good... but I do not believe it should be rated the number 1 best indie film and number 10 best film of all time. (As it is on IMDB while I write this review)
I think it simply receives a lot of praise because it is a movie made in a way that no one has ever seen before. A friend even told me that he thought it was an amazing movie--though he didn't quite totally understand it. Maybe it is appealing because it is confusing and people view it as a "smart" film because they can't quite follow totally what it going on and they have to watch it over and over again. Either way, I believe it has received much more acclaim than it deserves. It has certainly won many awards for great editing and original screenplays, etc--which it has. But a movie of the year--or of all time as some IMDB users are rating it--I totally disagree.
Finally, It is indeed totally original in the way a story is told and presented, but it is certainly not the greatest movie of all time. I was disappointed overall with this film. I do not believe it is a must-see.
I could film an entire movie by attaching a camera to a dogs back and having him film the action, then playing it on the big screen mirrored and upside-down during some scenes. That would certainly be an original idea never seen by movie-goers before, but that doesn't mean it should be voted into a group with The Godfather or Citizen Kane.
I'm not saying Memento is like watching an upside-down film from a dog's point of view... But I'm saying it's up there with the Godfather for reasons that it should NOT be.
An empty theatrical experience. A dull movie with no emotional core.
Clever editing substitutes for lack of substance and dramatic appeal.
Christopher Nolan's failed attempted to invent an original narrative
The only intriguing aspect of this glossy Hollywood film disguised as daring indie is the fact it has received accolades from movie critics as well as average movie fans. 'Memento' is so smartly put together that both groups lack the courage to say that the movie is a failure and a bore for fear of not coming out ignorant and unsophisticated.
Long ago it was observed by Pauline Keal that art house audience accepts lack of clarity as complexity, accepts clumsiness and confusion as 'ambiguity' and as style. If you thought 'Limey' was pretentious, wait 'til you see this. Or, better yet, don't!
Just forget about it!
Rated 10th best overall by IMDB? There was nothing above average in this
movie. A weak plot that unfolds backwards is worse, not fresh, creative,
ground-breaking. If you ranked this movie in your top 10 you probably
enjoyed such classics as Lost Highway and Drowning Mona.
If you can appreciate an art display consisting of a cage of live chickens running around, this movie is for you. Otherwise, this movie was a sharp stick in the eye. Avoid at all costs.
I had heard all the raves. A reviewer said "you'll want to watch this movie several times because it's so complex". I really wanted to see it... Then I did. My wife gave up after less than half of it. I forced myself to see it through, because I hoped there was something to redeem it. Well, there wasn't. Complex? Nothing worthwile is revealed after the first half, actually, the thing is pretty much clear after the first scene - never mind the sordid detail revealed later, doen't add anything for me. An uninteresting, unbelievable, unappealing story acted out by characters one cannot get oneself to care for. So it's told backwards, big deal. I've seen similar things before, done much better. No short term memory? Try "Winter Sleepers", that idea is used there much better. Acting? The characters had to look bewildered and smarmy, in turns. Not a great range, in my opinion. My conclusions: don't bother with this one!
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