Memento

Looking back at the past three months of films, I donít remember seeing a worthwhile film. Maybe worthwhile isnít the word; memorable from start to finish and allowing you to savor every second is more of the word. Memento is a dazzling piece of work that perfect blends an original visual storytelling style with an ingenious script.

ďFeelings not memoriesĒ says the storyís impaired narrator when describing how to investigate. In his case, this is the only way he can do things. His life is made up of a strict routine. As a man with short-term memory loss, Leonard Shelby (Pearce) is trying to play detective as a man who is trying to find the man who killed his wife, basically trying to recapture the final moment he can remember. Paper, the magic of the Polaroid camera and ohÖ a pen make his investigation possible. He instantly takes pictures of important people he meets and puts his own personal notes on each picture. He spaces out, living his life in bits and pieces that donít connect to him but connect to us as moviegoers.

ďSo what am I doing here?Ē is probably Leonardís most popular question to himself. He wouldnít ask anyone else, heís distrustful of all others. The others in this case take the form of the sneaky, weasel Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and the comforting yet troubled Natalie.

My personal favorite scene is when Leonard spaces out while running, he then proceeds to see a man and runs toward him confused if heís chasing someone or being chased. After taking a guess and running towards the man as if heís chasing him the man turns and shoots at him. Leonard has realized heís made a mistake, the wrong choice. It takes the premise of the movie and expands it brilliantly. A momentís loss in concentration is life or death for Leonard.

Donít want to ruin the brilliant from the story is told in, itís part of the surprise but it is brilliant and amazingly smooth and a perfect fit.
Leonard's mental fragments make this movie this jagged but continuously looping story brilliant. The mastery visceral display, control and style displayed by Director/ Writer Christopher Nolan reveal him as a leading force for filmmaking in the future. I haven't seen his previous effort, Following, but after seeing this gem it's high upon my list. 

After his excellent performance in 1997ís
L.A. Confidential, Guy Pearce seemed to have faded away while his fellow Aussie co-star Russell Crowe gobbled up tons of brilliant screen time. He was in Ravenous, and some other movies but with Memento he surpasses his L.A. Confidential performance by a mile. Guy Pearce puts in his second Oscar-worthy appearance of his career so far.  A career that, after this performance, looks very bright.

"Isnít the point of a book to find out what happens next?" asks Leonard of his wife in a flashback memory when seeing her reading a book for the umpteenth time. This scene is supposed to invoke thoughts of the irony of your thought Leonard's thought process change Leonard has no order in his life. He's like a book in which all the pages have been ripped out and put into a random order.

"We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are." I just love quoting this movie. A movie of Usual Suspects level suspense and creativity with that perfect tone and sleekness. You gotta go see it, probably more than once.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
Reviewed by: Joe Soria
Running Time: 120 minutes
Rated R for violence and language.

Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano.
Written and Directed by: Christopher Nolan




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