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Director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: Aaron Ryder and William Tyrer
Written by: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Jr., Stephen Tobolowsky, Harriet Sansom Harris
Rating: out of 5
Drop everything—forget about making dinner, don’t do the dishes, forget about calling your significant other, don’t even think about turning on the TV—don’t walk, run to see this movie. Never a lackluster moment in this shadowy noir, MEMENTO will stay with you as a memory of what real cinema can be. If MEMENTO was a book, it would be a page-turner; if it was a piece of art it, would be breath-taking; if it were a photo, it would be captivating; and if it was a musical score, it would entrancing. As a movie it is indescribable.
Only Nolan’s second feature, this thriller twisted its way through the convoluted confines of Leonard Shelby’s (Pierce) psyche. Walking in on the rape of his wife, Leonard receives a blow to the head causing him to retain no short-term memory. In blind love and remembrance, Leonard vows to avenge his wife’s death and seek out her killer. Leonard tracks the mysterious John G. using odd methods that his memory-less mind necessitates. As his memory holds only snapshots of the past, Leonard has to take Polaroids of people and clues in his investigation. To make his memories more permanent, Leonard tattoos “facts” about the killer on his body to keep record of the clues he can’t seem to remember.
Unwinding backwards, the plot spirals and reveals characters whose motives soon become dubious in nature. Are the people helping him really his friends? Are his enemies really his foes? Carrie-Ann Moss (from THE MATRIX) perfectly portrays the femme fatale, seeming confident and mysterious. She helps gather information for Leonard because she too has lost a loved one—but how did her boyfriend die? This mystery, only one of the key pieces to the puzzle, slowly combines to form the deadly denouement.
Never knowing what to expect, each flashback is awaited with eagerness to see what develops next. Normally, you might not expect there to be a twist when the story is told in reverse order, but MEMENTO holds the unexpectancy in the beginning. I’m afraid if I tell you anymore I might spoil the thrill—and that would be a tragedy.
“The world just doesn’t disappear when you close your eyes,” says Leonard, and neither will this film. It will make an indelible imprint on your mind.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
It’s worth a full-price ticket.
It’s worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...