A jigsaw puzzle-type film for the mind to work out.
Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), has a condition where he is unable to form new memories ever since suffering from a head injury during a home invasion attack, in which his wife was killed. Now, using clues from the night, Polaroid photographs, hand-written notes to himself, tattoos and help from people he has met, Leonard’s job is to hunt down the man responsible. Despite his condition, he believes that he will be able to solve this mystery. It’s only a matter of time…
Before Inception and The Dark Knight, Memento is Christopher Nolan’s breakout film, and one of his best, too. The one thing that makes this film really stand out from the rest, is its concept of being told in reverse chronology. Therefore, the scene that would typically be featured at the very end of this narrative is shown at the beginning, and so on. Memento presents the audience with a unique and clever twist on a crime thriller/mystery. If you take your eyes off the screen for a split second, I can assure you will miss something, even if it’s a minute detail. This film requires your full attention. With Leonard suffering from anterograde amnesia, as the narrative unfolds you will recognise that many people sympathise with his condition, while others simply use it to their advantage and as a result, it becomes impossible to know who he can truly trust.
Guy Pearce does an exceptional job in this film – he is utterly believable as Leonard Shelby. Carrie-Anne Moss is also wonderful in this film, as is Joe Pantoliano, who is great; never revealing his true intentions. But, the actors wouldn’t be anywhere without the brilliant screenplay that Nolan has brought to this film. It is what carries the film from start to finish, and I can promise you that it doesn’t disappoint. There are moments in the climactic scenes where the film transitions from colour to black-and-white in such a seamless fashion.
Overall, I can see why this classic put Christopher Nolan on the map. Memento is provocative and intriguing, throwing in one twist after another. It is ever so intelligently written, therefore it is not a film you are going to forget after watching it. It’s definitely one worth watching again and again, and perhaps in different scene orders…(yes, I did this the second time around). Treat yourself to this unique experience.