Before Christopher Nolan hit it big with movies like The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, he first made a name for himself with a small, yet brilliantly crafted, mystery thriller titled, Memento.
Anterograde amnesia is when a person cannot create new memories yet retains all, or most, of his or her memories prior to the incident. While there is more explanation in the movie, according to medical experts, Memento displays the most accurate representation of anterograde amnesia in film. To combat his memory problems, Leonard writes many notes and takes pictures to remind him of what he needs to do and who people are.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller,
Release Date: September 5, 2000
Running Time: 113 minutes
MMPA rating: R
The Good: Inventive and unique narrative devices, Perfectly paced, Mind-bendingly complex, Nearly flawless plotting, Top notch performances,
Plot: 9.9/10- Memento’s plot is unique, tight, and nearly flawless.
As good as Nolan’s later films have been, even some of his best have had major plot holes and inconsistencies, yet, at least from what I have deduced, there are few if any plot holes in Memento. Using the narrative device of the character’s anterograde amnesia by starting from the end and going backwards to the beginning is not a gimmick, because almost everything takes place from the perspective of the main character Leonard. As for the mystery, Nolan leaves enough clues for the audience to figure it out, but not enough to make it obvious and the actual mystery is oh so intriguing to figure out.
Characterization: 9.2/10- Despite the continual time jumps, the main character, Leonard, is surprisingly compelling. While the other characters are not particularly developed, they are all memorable and distinct.
Acting: 9.3/10- Guy Pearce’s performance is particularly exceptional as Leonard. He is able to convey the character’s condition effectively. Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano give noteworthy performances as well.
Soundtrack: 7.2/10- While the score can be somewhat effective at points, it is barely noticeable overall.
Entertainment Value: 8.9/10- Since the neo-noir mystery style is particularly appealing to me, trying to piece together the plot was very entertaining.
Overall: 9.5/10- Memento is a superbly crafted mystery film with a unique narrative structure and strong performances, there is nothing negative that can be said about the film.
Closing comments: OK.... What am I doing again? Ah, it looks like I am writing a review for something called “Memento.” I don't remember watching that....
Recommended for: Mystery fans, Christopher Nolan fans (Nolanites), Noir fans, Guy Pearce fans, Thriller fans,
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