Memento

This is a highly original film based on an intriguing premise. Guy Pearce plays Leonard Shelby, a man on a mission to avenge the rape and murder of his wife. However he is also suffering from a memory disorder which means that he is not capable of making new memories. He remembers everything up until "the incident" and nothing thereafter. Consequently he can be manipulated easily and must know who to trust.

Have you seen this before?

In order to survive, and further, to hunt down the person who attacked his wife Lenny uses a system of written notes (only trusting those in his own handwriting) and polaroid photographs to remind him what he is doing, where he is staying and who to trust. In addition to these reminders he has clues and information tattooed all over his body.

One of the most interesting features of this film is the fact that the whole thing has been filmed scene by scene and then the scenes have been run in reverse order, so chronologically the film runs backwards. This is tremendously done and manages not only to avoid becoming muddled or disjointed but in fact to flow towards a satisfying conclusion. It sounds complicated but works very well and the story always feels as though it is progressing or moving forward.

The direction is superb and demonstrates a high level of expertise and originality. Christopher Nolan has done a tremendous job as screenplay writer and director. He combines a variety of techniques in his filming which add alot of depth to the film. On top of the backwards chronology there are further flashbacks to before "the incident" which are cleverly set aside by filming them in black and white. There are also some clever shots at the end which I don´t want to ruin so pay attention and look out for them.

Carrie Anne Moss in Memento

The acting throughout is top quality, Pearce has established himself as an accomplished and skilled actor and merely adds to that reputation in this feature. Support is provided by Joe Pantoliano as Teddy and Carrie-Anne Moss as Natalie both of whom you may remember from the smash hit film The Matrix. The characters and attention to detail shown by both the actors and the director make this compelling viewing despite the total budget being relatively low at $5 million.

The film lasts around an hour and three-quarters but feels much shorter and should have no problem sustaining your interest. If you are looking for something a bit different or original I would urge you to give this a try. An intelligent, twisting thriller with a difference, this really is an enjoyable film to watch.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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