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Plot: Memento chronicles two separate stories of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories, as he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. One story line moves forward in time while the other tells the story backwards revealing more… Runtime: 113 min Release Date: 20 Oct 2000
An unforgettable trip into the mind of a man with no memory (by ltlrags)
If you're looking for something intense, suspenseful, and different than your usual effects-packed thriller, this is the best movie you will see all year. You will be talking about Memento at work, at the grocery store to total strangers! , and you will find yourself joining conversations when you hear the word "Memento." That's why this little film that received almost no marketing stayed in theaters for months and was in the top 10 money makers for several weeks.The movie starts with a murder -- a revenge killing, in fact. But was the right person killed?Leonard Shelby <more>
Guy Pearce is a man with no short-term memory. He hasn't been able to form new memories since the night his wife was murdered. Now he's on a hunt to find the murderer but with no way of remembering names, dates, places, facts and faces. Instead he tattoos himself with mementos of his search. When someone knows his name, he checks Polaroids to see if he knows them. Does he like this person? Does he trust this person? Is this the killer? He doesn't know unless he's scribbled a note.Don't worry about trying to empathize with Leonard because Writer/Director Christopher Nolan puts you right in Leonard's shoes. You live the story in reverse order so that you never know more than Leonard does. In one scene you see Leonard getting information from a person who knows him -- maybe a good person; maybe bad. In the next scene you see a previous meeting between the two which sheds more light on their relationship. Later still you see how they met. But is that all of the story? You've yet to find out... and you won't know everything until the last scene. By living it backwards, you, like Leonard, have no knowledge of what came before.It's brilliant story telling. But you might get frustrated because you don't know what's going on. That's normal. In fact, that's the whole idea. Just sit back, try to relax though that's difficult in this movie , and find out just how twisted and complex Leonard's world is.This film will leave its own memento on your mind, and you'll have a hard time forgetting how much you enjoyed it.
can't believe how much I'm still thinking the day after (by lasher42)
So the "innovative" concept of filming out of sequence has been cliche for at least a few years now, but here's a film that makes it work far better than its been shown in a while.Having read the reviews and talked to others who saw it, I thought that I'd go into the movie figuring everything out right away and declaring the concept unworkable. I couldn't be further from the truth. This movie does things to your head that are illegal in some countries. Portrayed for all intents and purposes backwards, it forces you to think in the same way that our lead character, <more>
Leonard Shelby Guy Pearce being more brilliant than usual does. Suffering from a condition that renders him unable to remember anything for more than a few minutes, he is searching for the man who raped and killed his wife. Since each seen lasts no more than 15 minutes before jumping back to the what happened before that, our perceptions are shattered in the same way.Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano both of The Matrix put in great performances that leave you guessing; simultaneously endearing and revolting.Overall I left the film trying to figure out what was what, and I'm still not sure. This film noir concept shouldn't work, but it does so wonderfully.
Incredible, riveting and powerful. What else could I say? This movie has all of the qualities of classic film noir as well as the magnitude of an original, unique concept that has been tried and tired before but works here. Guy Pearce has been underrated for years just think back now to Priscilla and can you believe this is the same guy and finally might get the recognition here that was at least well-deserved of him back for LA Confidential. Powerful perfomances, well developed story with suspensful buildup of what our main character pieces together little by little makes this a must <more>
Its not a gimmick, its something new (by jbparker)
Yes, it's true. The entire movie is based on a gimmick. However, I honestly feel that this does not cheapen the picture in the slightest bit. I loved every scene; discovering information as our lead character discovered it. It demands a second and third viewing, as there are many subtleties and quick flashes that may not be picked up on the first time around. Its one of the most original films ever made, and for people who scoff at the concept of not having a short-term memory, it actually is a real condition. Watch this movie. And, please pay attention. The performances are wonderful, <more>
Spoilers herein.I rate this very high on my scale, primarily for its ambition and intellect.Usually I get annoyed at IMDB comments that report the story as if it were important, but it is here:---Lenny's home is attacked, wife raped, him injured. He develops this `condition' which has no physical cause. In other words, the condition is invented. The insurance investigator Sammy Jankins , uncovers him as a fraud by using electrified test blocks. Knowing this, his wife challenges him and he `accidentally' kills her rather than face the condition. Sent to a hospital, he escapes and <more>
ties up with the cop who investigated the case. Together, they track down the petty crook and kill him. Over time, the condition becomes more pronounced and embedded. The cop Teddy is crooked and exploits Lenny in a doublecross drug deal, getting him to kill Jimmy. Jimmy's girlfriend Natalie also manipulates Lenny to first chase off Dodd who is looking for the missing money . Lenny decides to get even with Teddy, so plants a seed that he will use later to justify killing Teddy.---It is essential to know that Lenny was never an insurance investigator, and that his condition is self-delusional. The order and ritual is not to cope with, but to create the condition. Remembering his wife increases the intensity behind the psychosis -- remembering his investigator gives him identity and focus in refining the condition -- knowing all this transforms the idea behind the film into something of genius.That's because it is deeply self-referential: us looking at a film, especially at a mystery, is just the same as looking at a few polaroids and trying to create/remember a past. Watching movies is self-delusional, and with detective stories it is a game of wits between viewer and writer to outwit and manipulate each other just as here between Lenny and Teddy. The filmmaker calls us, we shouldn't answer, but we forget. This film goes further. An actor forms the picture by putting words on it; in the case of acting, the `picture' is the body, so it makes sense for the clue/words to appear on his body.The combination of the three words on skin, remembrances of images past, the mind duel with the writer adds up to a pretty mind-expanding framework. That alone transports the intelligent viewer to another world, a shocking world of self. This makes the film important, and an important film deserves criticism.So what could be better?The ink on skin as referential of film acting was done so much more elegantly and deeply with `Pillow Book.' The playing with time was moderately clever compared to the other, deeper games in this film -- but it could have been much more challenging. It could have stuttered `Limey' could have folded `Pulp Fiction' could have paralleled `Run Lola Run' could have spiralled deeper `Snake Eyes' . Maybe in the next film.I did not think the eye of the camera was very clever. This had `noirish' writing but not filming. More like the later `DOA' in the black and white would have really spun. The dialog and plot were needlessly simple. If I am going to go to the trouble to displace my mind for a day or two, I want it shifted beyond Jupiter. That the story was so simple was pandering to the dumb masses and annoyed.But the biggest flaw was our friend Guy. Moss is not a real actress. Guy is, but he's of the rather simple kind, who thinks he plays a character. Consider what this film is: it is a film about films first, and within that we have a character inventing another character and reality. That's three roles in one. Woody Allen made a similar movie so far as this matter: `Sweet and Lowdown.' It was a fake documentary about a guy who created a stage persona which he subsequently adopted. Simple stuff plotwise compared to `Memento.' But it had Sean Penn. Watch Sean play three roles at once, weaving them into a complex multidimensional space. This film was intelligent enough in its conception to warrant such texture, to have the actor remind us that we are him and he isn't.
If the director of this independent film tried to make us feel really confused, like the main character, he did it wonderfully. There are only a few movies like this one, the kind of movies that makes you pay attention to every minute of it. Obviously that doesn't work all the time, but this case is the exception. Really well directed with a wonderful photography and excellent cast. The main actors' performances are great. We really root for the guy as we hate the ones who try to take advantage of him.Original films like this one always stand out. Perhaps it didn't caught much <more>
attention at first but now it is in an important position at the IMDb top 250 and that means that most the people recognize great movies when they see them.As I said before, this movie is a little confusing because it runs backwards while the black and white scenes run in chronological order. But that wasn't a cheap trick to make the movie more "intelectual", it was its strength. A rare film that shouldn't be missed.
Confusion, uncertainty, and paranoia as an art form: possibly. (by Pseudo-geordie boy)
If I told you the entire plot of this film it really wouldn't matter as it is an exquisite paean to the subjectivity of memory and therefore is in itself ambiguous; the truth' of it is up to you. You come out of the cinema questioning yourself, your memories, your truths. Nothing in this film is as it seems, and yet paradoxically everything is as it seems. We see everything through Guy Pearce's characters' Lenny eyes, unfortunately he has no short-term memory so cannot form new memories. He would have already forgotten the first sentence of this review. He lives in <more>
snapshots of life; his only form of memory is his Polaroid camera, just like in the excellent German film Wintersleepers; also partly about a short-term memory disorder.In this film Lenny takes snapshots to remember who people are, where he now lives, his car, everything. As you can imagine this is perfect for paranoia, suspicion, uncertainty, confusion, and betrayal. And that's exactly what you get in extreme doses. The difference between this film and Wintersleepers however is that Memento is entirely from Lenny's perspective. This therefore creates an imaginative, creatively unsurpassable film. The film begins where it should end, so far so trite, but here's the beauty, we, like Guy Pearce, learn in fragments what's going on. It is therefore perfect for those who love to second guess what's going to happen, who did what, who's doing what and why. The beauty of this film though is that my interpretation could be so different from yours, and neither of us could be sure whose interpretation is the right one; if there is a right one at all. Nothing is certain, nothing is clear. Another beauty of this film is the way it is filmed and edited. Pieces are shown a number of times with no real linear link between them, just like it would be if we ourselves had a memory disorder, and then they are cut up and edited next to things that happen either before or after it. It's just like holding ten different and linearly distinct Polaroids in your hand and having a short-term memory disorder. Excellent.I'm not even sure if watching it again will make things any less ambiguous, but then who cares? The ambiguity is what makes this a great film, if it wasn't so cut up, or from Lenny's perspective it would be both very short and trite; and lacking in tension, suspense and interest. But as it stands it has all three, isn't trite and says so much about humanity. Oh, and the plot? It really doesn't matter, all you need to know is that everything about this film is indicative of the subjectivity of memory, of our experiences and interpretations of all that happens to us. Nothing will seem as black and white as it did beforehand. It will make you question every memory you have, almost as much as possessing a psychology degree, as I do! So, go and see it: be confused, acknowledge the frailty of all you know to be true, and then imagine the freedom of actually being Lenny, and then the horror of having nothing, nothing but the reliance of a pen and a Polaroid camera to know who you are.
Not to be missed if you are looking for something clever and original. ***1/2 out of four (by Movie-12)
MEMENTO / 2001 ***1/2 out of four By Blake French: How is this for a scenario? A man breaks into your house in the middle of the night. He kills your wife and leaves you with brain injuries. Furious, you pledge your life to track down and kill whoever is responsible. There is just one problem: after the head injury, you are no longer capable of creating new memories; everything before the accident is crystal clear, but now you cannot remember anything past several minutes. Now chew on this: what happens to guilt if you cannot remember what you did? How can a person have emotions if he does <more>
not know where they came from? How can we learn from our experiences if we cannot remember them. What is the purpose of revenge if someone cannot recollect or prosper from it? "Memento" wins this year's prize for inducing the most audience participation. Not only is the film thought-provoking and unusually absorbing, but it also places us in the main character's shoes. How can we be in the same mental status with the main character when he cannot remember anything? Writer/director Christopher Nolan has that answer: he tells the story backwards. We begin at the end and work our way towards the beginning. However, each individual scene plays running forward, often overlapping, providing us with clear, constructive transitions. The main character, Leonard, is confused in prospects of time and experience, and so are we. Other characters include Natalie Carrie-Anne Moss, from "The Matrix" , who also lost someone close and can help Leonard, and Teddy Joe Pantoliano, also from "The Matrix" , whose identity often shifts mysteriously. Then there is the series of flashbacks of Leonard's experiences while working as an insurance agent. The situation involves an individual named Sammy, who has a memory disorder similar to Leonard's. His diabetic spouse is not sure whether her husband is faking his condition or not. To prove it to herself she arranges a test I dare not reveal. Leonard is more intricately involved in this story than he even believes. "Memento" is smart and imaginative. It doesn't pass up little details of the characters. Leonard is constantly jotting himself notes and taking Polaroid pictures so his life can make some sense. He even gets permanent tattoos all over his body so he does not lose or forget some of the most important information. In a movie like this, it would be almost impossible to make without leaving some information out; even some of the film's actors were confused and requested a script told in sequence order. But these filmmakers have constructed a movie with a plot hole big enough to drive a semi through: If Leonard cannot remember anything after the accident, then how can he remember that he has a memory condition? There are no tattoos or notes to remind him, and whenever he meets someone he explains his condition thoroughly. This is necessary information he reveals, but there are better ways to do so. We could be there when his doctor explains the condition to him, or see his friends talking about it. The sky is the limit in a movie like this. It was not essential to leave such a massive, obvious hole in the plot. "Memento" is still a unique mystery thriller. It is a tantalizing experience we do not often come across at the movies. For audiences who like to sit back and relax, this film is a waste of time. It requires us to follow along, participate, fit puzzle pieces together-"Memento" doesn't provide any easy or obvious answers. All but the most intelligent and thoughtful kids will not be able to follow this film; it is intended for adult audiences. "Memento" is one of the year's most challenging movies, not to be missed if you are looking for something clever and original.
Being voted number 10 in the IMDB poll I was really looking forward to MEMENTO but after watching the first few minutes I was confused as to what was going on . Then I realised it was a thriller being told in segments backwards so that the next segment finishes where the previous one finished. Then I wondered where it was heading but I spent so much time admiring the structure , story telling technique and sheer audacious skill of Christopher Nolan`s super smart script I forgot to look for all the clues that explain the story . That`s the problem with this film : There`s clever , then there`s <more>
too clever by half , and then there`s Christopher Nolan`s script