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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.
My take, omg i don't know wtf this movies about. It lost me at the end.
What if teddy ended up being the murderer and like the guy he was
chasing the cop. May be solve the problem with the non-sequential
themes. Harder to read then a frank miller comic book without the rest
of the series imho.
These are one of those movies that could be good, if they do it right. Is there a book or guide to this movie? The reason why it failed is because in my book the characters got all mixed up. They lost coordination on how to make the movie interesting. If you were to watch 12 monkeys, it would be interesting because the key points, if you watch pulp fiction it would be interesting. This movie would be an interesting comic orientated mobster movie thriller full of suspense or thought provoking if they didn't add sooo many characters. Jesus, who is the guy at the end?!? Why isn't Teddy the killer? I figured the doctor was in his position as an amnesiac, okay. But umm did he just fly into France from Hollywood is my question. The movie is way too thought provoking with too many characters, and some people don't have the time to watch a guy try and remember something until the quarter end of the movie where it takes a back seat in interest. Its as if the user is tricked into actually liking the movie. Horrible. TBH no one would care about a throw in character who is suddenly the killer of his wife, who is now....alive. Whom he kills cus hes an idiot. Okay. Maybe they grew old together. Makes sense, except it would be more interesting if i knew his wife was diabetic, and he kills his wife while in the hospital after the accident. Maybe he could have killed his wife, or maybe he could have had like a son or daughter instead whom he killed. Maybe his wife should have survived and his daughter was the unfortunate casualty. Maybe he went to the town of his killer and made friends with the residence, true...okay but then his killer shows up and the guy he was chasing or chasing him is out of the picture. I would expect even, teddy to actually be lying, while the guy he was chasing be a cop. Sure, throw in the obvious...but what if teddy had a motive to kill him at the end. What if teddy was insured and had him kill the cop, whom he finally realized he killed. What if Teddy was the 'second' guy. Maybe cripple his mind a little psychologically. Was the movie trying to be like funny or something? I don't think so. I like the mood of the film though, it was very light so they went in that direction but i would like to see a light funny comedy thriller with dark humor, very artsy makes you feel really small in a big world. Except this comedy thriller needs murder, it just does..and lots of it. Good idea, not so good outcome. What exactly were they trying to do here is my question. Need's work.
This is my 1st review on the site and I have chosen this masterpiece of
a movie to review.
I have seen movies in my life with an innovation factor whether its the characters, the plot, the directing or even the soundtrack, but this movie deserves to be a great, clear contender in the innovation land.
Since the 80s, we are tired as viewers of clichés regarding protagonists or antagonists and this movie serves the cause of surprising the viewer not necessarily plot-wise, but character-wise. I mean all of the characters in this movie have their ups and downs within the build up.
Guy Pearce is certainly one of my favorite actors of all time, so it isn't new to me that I got owned by his acting and for Carrie-Anne Moss, she is an actress of natural, God-given ability. So, where did the pleasant surprise came from?... It came from Joe Pantoliano who added THE flavor to the movie.
If you still haven't watched this movie and I doubt it, then go and see it today for it is a masterpiece not necessarily in its epic, rich, novely aspect, but for its innovation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At the end of the movie Shelby explains everything about what really
happened to the person Leonard was looking for. my question is where is
that "I've done it" tattoo through out the movie. A scene shows
Leonard's wife rubbing his "I've done it" tattoo but where is it when
Natalie and Leonard look at the mirror when they are reading Leonard's
backwards tattoo. Its a good movie but it fell apart for me when i
figured out the hole. Because if Leonard would of saw his "I've done
it" tattoo at the start of the movie, he would need no reason to find
that burglar because he would seen on his chest that he has killed him!
Still a good movie though.
I'm just guessing here but maybe this is why the academy awards didn't nominate memento for best picture because they probably figured out the hole too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I cannot tell you how many recent movies I have seen that start with the
character in a screwed up situation, then backtell how he got there. I
it! It's like a spoiler for the whole film! It takes away all the mystery,
it's like someone telling you when you are going to die. Why go on living?
Why go on watching such a film? Just Married and Salton Sea are two recent
copy cat examples. I guess it is the latest style. And what about all
absurd movies trying to be like Fargo or a Tarantino flick, example Orange
This film is like all those, rolled into one. This film is very clever with the main character having no short term memory but that is where it ends. It is NOT top 250 material. I think that the ranking system is screwed up or something. It is better than 238 of the best films of all time? Helloooooooooo?
It is a crappy overused story, told in an unusual way with ok acting. Wife is killed, person seeking the murderer etc etc.
I saw this movie with neutral expectations, and I don't see what all the fuss is about. It is TERRIBLE. Difficult to keep eyes open through the entire thing. What happened to you people when you saw it? Did your tickets come with free popcorn or something? How is the movie so appealing? The plot is semi-original, the acting puke-inducing. I say it loud for all to hear: LAME-O.
After seeing how many people loved this flick, I am surprised. I guess you should be wide awake and completely alert to watch it. I was tired and I could not wait for this movie to end. It left too many questions unanswered at the end. I will admit that it was an interesting way to film a thriller.
From reading the pretentious reviews here, you'd think that this is going to
be a great movie.
You'd be wrong.
The words "strange" and "weird" come to mind, but if you want me to say something really nice, all I can think of is that I borrowed the DVD from the library, so it was free.
Making this one of the top movies on IMDB is an insult to all the other truly good movies that are on the list. I gave it a 3.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, granted this movie has a unique premise. This movie is quite
entertaining and will keep ya watching. But this movie is not the amazing
work of art many would have you believe. It is a decent thriller with a
twist in that it works backwards and puts the watcher into the same
of our main character who has reoccuring amnesia. Decent movie that
the viewers opinion throughout the flick as our character slowly works his
way through time in reverse. We see things happen and then we slowly find
out how those things came to be as we move farther back.
One major fault in the movie. The scene where our main character is manipulated by the lady to deal with her boyfriend is completely screwy. They tried to make it out that she totally planned it and covered all the bases but if one watches that scene one can see that one million things could have gone wrong and even should have when she plays her game and gets hit. Hiding of the pens, the seriously fast relapse of the main character (and her not knowing at that point how fast a lapse takes), and other problems just bugged me with that one scene. It was the most far fetched part of the entire movie and should have been done differently.
Fragmented, disjointed, unsequential story and screenplay, is innovative and certainly attention-getting, but ultimately mutes the emotional impact of film. Too few moments when the viewers here could connect, possibly because you have to work so hard continuously to figure out what is going on. An intricate cerebral puzzle but without passion.
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