Thriller
Memento
.
Dir: Christopher Nolan
Star: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2000
Format: DVD R2
'

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) was attacked and suffered a head injury which means he now has no short-term memory. He lives with only one purpose and that is to track down the man who raped and killed his wife in the same attack. His condition makes this task especially difficult as the only way he remember anything for more than a few moments is to take photographs and write notes. The most important notes regarding his investigation he tattoos on his body. The only help he receives is from his shifty 'friend' the mysterious Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and from a waitress called Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss). For a man who does know where he is and what he's doing most of the time this investigation could prove both difficult and deadly.

Just when it seems that originality is a commodity that is in short supply in the modern film industry a movie comes along that is genuinely different. Memento is just one of these films. For a start the film is viewed backwards. It begins at the end with Leonard killing his suspect (an act which itself is viewed in reverse). Then in small sections that mirror Leonard's memory span the film leads us back to the start. Each section always ends were he previous one begins and in this way the story cleverly unfolds.

The script is written by writer \ director Christopher Nolan and is both inventive and extremely clever. It is difficult to script an effective thriller with interesting and original plot turns let alone write one that runs in reverse. This is the films greatest strength and its greatest weakness. It s a strength because of the unique twist it gives events, and it's a weakness because it does make things darn confusing at times. This is not a simple film and it really requires a bit of concentration to follow the plot at times, but ultimately it is really rewarding.

Guy Pearce has come a long way since appearing in Neighbours and in LA Confidential he proved just how far. This film marks another remarkably strong performance from him. He is excellent in the central role, which is just as well as the whole film revolves around his performance. There really are only two other significant parts in the film and these are taken by two actors who both previously appeared together in the Matrix. Joe Pantoliano is both entertaining and adds some dark humour to the proceedings, whereas Carrie-Anne Moss is effective in her role. Overall this is a good cast that are in fine form.

The success of a thriller can be measured in the plot twists and the fact that it should keep you guessing until the end. I am happy to report that Memento has some great plot twists mainly thanks to the lack of short-term memory of our hero. This original idea is used well through out the film both in terms of the story and in an attempt to explore the reliability of memory and how we use it to manipulate events. It also adds some humour especially in the scene where Leonard is chasing someone only to realise he isn't. In the end the lack of memory leads to the fact that everybody is manipulating every one else so it really does keep you guessing as to not who did it (because the film starts with this) but why they did it in the first place.

As thrillers go this is top stuff. It is original and well written. The acting is good and it should keep you from figuring it out straight away. On the down side as I have mentioned it can be confusing (especially until you get using to the usual backwards narrative structure). Also the pace in the middle of the movie does falter a little as Leonard gets bogged down remembering his wife, but stick with it as the film ends with a very satisfying conclusion. If you're a fan of thrillers then this film is a must, and even if you're not then it's well worth watching. It's always refreshing to discover a film as original as this.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic The picture is intensionaly washed out, but nice and clear.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Unexciting and occasionally difficult to hear the dialogue.
Features Inventive Menu system which is a little tricky to use.
Trailer
Rather boring 22min interview with director Christopher Nolan
Cast and director filmographies
The contents of the Website
Memento Mori a short story which was the inspiration for the film.
Tattoo Gallery with comparisons between the designs & film
Shooting Script With 'White Rabbit' Feature
An easter egg which is the ability to watch the film re-edited to run forwards. To get this press select on the special features menu inbetween menu animations.
Verdict A good disc with some unusal features. With the re-edited film being the most interesting.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home