Reviews

Memento

4

Many psychological thrillers rely on twists to deliver their climactic pay-off. But director Christopher Nolan's brain-wringing psycho noir isn't just a movie with a twist - - it is a twist.

In his underseen, shoestring-budget debut Following, British writer/director Nolan jigsawed his narrative and chucked out the pieces in a non-chronological order, and Memento is very similar. But with his Hollywood-funded follow-up, the helmer has taken his cut `n' paste madness a step further. Each scene is exactly as long as the brain-damaged Leonard's (Guy Pearce) memory span, and we leap backwards from memory-episode to memory-episode, tracing his investigation sequentially from ending to beginning. So we open with Leonard at the end of his trail, taking a snap of a man he's just shot through the head, and wind up, well, at the beginning.

Furthermore, each episode is linked by fragments from a separate scene, shot in black-and-white, which sees Leonard talking on the phone in a non-descript motel room, relating the story of one of his insurance jobs which involved, oddly enough, another man suffering from short-term memory loss.

Needless to say, Memento is a film which requires concentration. You have to remember what's about to happen in order to follow what went before, while realising that Leonard's associates may be manipulating him for their own ends.

But don't let that put you off, as Nolan is more than happy to reward his audience for their careful attention. The nature of the concept, naturally, raises philosophical questions (time heals all wounds, but what if you have no sense of time?), but Nolan cranks up the suspense, keeps the story sharp and pacy, and isn't afraid to layer in a little ultra-black humour. The impact is insidious - chances are, your brain will be replaying this fiendish puzzle of a film for months to come.

Verdict:

Like twisted movies? Memento should be right up your helter-skelter. The three leads are excellent, but it's the masterful execution of an almost-too-clever-for-its-own-good concept which really makes this the most delicious kind of food for the mind.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • 01casey

      Mar 11th 2009, 15:45

      5

      Memento isn't just a film; it's an experience. It doesn't boast about its own intelligence, but provides the audience with narrative clues, and leaves it down to personal interpretation. Todorov defying stuff.

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    • jacoblost48

      Nov 28th 2009, 18:18

      5

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    • Jkaltz11

      Dec 25th 2009, 21:07

      5

      The best film I have ever seen.

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    • BaleAndNolanFan

      Jan 10th 2010, 19:00

      5

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    • jasminaz02

      Jun 14th 2010, 13:28

      5

      a true mindbender with incredible pacing

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