Memento (2000) Review


Leonard Shelby suffers from short term memory loss and is attempting to track down his wife’s murderer. Each day he must start again in putting everything together using Polaroid photos, notes and tattoos. Always unsure to who he could trust.


Memento is an incredibly crafted film that has two narratives running simultaneously with each other. We get a series of events in black and white which is shown in chronological order and then we have the colour sequence which is shown in reverse order. These will meet at the end of the film to show everything about the lead character. I had no idea about this before watching the film so it took a little bit of time to realise that the colour version was in reverse order. I liked the colour and then black and white though to really help show that these events were not happening at the same time, really added more depth to the film.

Leonard had been working as an insurance investigator and we begin to find out that he has anterograde amnesia which means that he is unable to store recent memories, he can recall things before the accident. He is trying to hunt down the man who did this two him as he killed one attacker who raped and murdered his wife but the police did not believe him when he said that the second attacker had fled the scene.

As we follow his journey through the days that all look very similar he attempts to find the man in question who he believes is called John G. Each day as he wakes he has no idea where he is and must read the notes and look at the photos to at least be able to place things and people. This is something that is rather powerful especially when he begins to notice the tattoos on different parts of his body. Having to use the mirror to read one of them as well.

Two people he keeps meeting with everyday are Teddy and Natalie, as a viewer we are never quite sure whether to believe them or not. But that is the point, we are supposed to feel a little bit like Leonard who has no idea what is going on and who the people are. Trying to use rational thinking whilst watching the film really adds to the way it completely and utterly blows your mind.

As I mentioned earlier the black and white section is a phone call and we hear a lot about Sammy Jankins, who had a diabetic wife and the same condition that he is now suffering from. This was part of his job and it was interesting to see that unfold. Other than all of this more outline of the plot it is impossible to really talk in much detail about the different events and many twists. It certainly is a complex film and I was engrossed in it from start to finish and it left my head spinning at the end, in the best possible way I must add!

Guy Pearce is utterly breathtaking in the leading role, a truly outstanding performance that probably deserves even more praise than I have seen for it. Making me wonder why I have not actually seen that many of his films! Carrie-Anne Moss is an actress that I am always impressed with and that was confirmed once again in this film, her performance was haunting. Joe Pantoliano is great as well, it probably helps that I just finished watching The Sopranos a few weeks ago to then really appreciate him even more as an actor. Something else that is mind blowing is realising that the cast is not very big at all and relies heavily on Peace and then Moss and Pantoliano in the supporting roles. Stephen Tobolowsky and Harriet Sansom Harris deserve a mention as well for the smaller yet very effective and emotional parts they play.

A true mind blowing film from Christopher Nolan that might have taken me a while to catch up with but I am very happy to say that I loved this film. The way it was shot and the methods of storytelling accompanied by the incredible performances make it sheer brilliance in film making.

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