Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Movie Review: "Mememto" (2000)

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Director: Christopher Nolan
Year: 2000
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) has a condition where he can't form new memories ever since suffering an attack during a home invasion in which his wife was killed. Ever since, he has been trying to find the man who murdered his wife so he can kill him. Since he can't form new memories, he relies on notes, Polaroid pictures, and other random written evidence to try and draw conclusions as to who killed his wife. He believes, despite his condition, that he will be able to solve this mystery, but his biggest problem isn't deciphering evidence, it's knowing who to trust. 

Before "Interstellar," before "Inception," before the Batman trilogy, before "The Prestige," there was "Memento," one of Christopher Nolan's first films, and one of his best, too. Though this is not Nolan's first film, it is certainly the one that was a breakthrough picture for him. "Memento" gives audiences a unique and clever twist on a crime thriller and mystery. It's a story that shows the mystery isn't in how it ends, but in how it began. The narrative is told backwards, each scene ending where the previous one began, and quite ingeniously, we might add, though the details can be confusing once in a while if you're not paying attention. This is done to let the audience experience Leonard Shelby's condition, giving you the feeling of knowing what you will do next, without knowing exactly what you just did. Guy Pearce is really extraordinary in this movie. He is completely believable as Leonard Shelby, who has a one-track mind for revenge, driving him to hunt and destroy the person responsible for raping and killing his wife. His condition is palpable to the audience as we feel each and every single one of his problems, as well as his lost and found memories, too. The use of Polaroid photos and self-inflicted tattoos as markers for memories is an interesting and interesting and also lends to the notion that filmmakers will never give you more than what you need to know at any given time. Without these aids to help him, Leonard would be lost in a sea of his mind's own nothingness, as would we. Carrie-Anne Moss is also wonderful in this film, as is Joe Pantoliano, who is terrific and never lets you know his true intentions.

Overall, this mentally stimulating, provocative, intriguing film is the one that put Christopher Nolan on the map, and regardless of whether or not you like his as a director, you cannot discount the amazingness that is "Memento." It's not just a film, it's a disorienting and revolutionary experience, and definitely one worth watching again and again as it has stood the test of time and will continue to do so for a long, long time to come.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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