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Memento [Christopher Nolan - 2000]


VIP Member
Sep 22, 2013
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The modern noir psychological film Memento (Guy Pearce) is an early offering by now-celebrated Batman (DC Comics film-maker Christopher Nolan. Interesting to note is that Pearce was slated to be a Batman character or Batman himself in one of the newer Batman films but that never passed. Guy Pearce does do an excellent job however in this Nolan film, released in early September, 2000.

Leonard Shelby is an insurance investigator who's been attacked apparently by two men, and the attack led to the death of his wife and gave Leonard anterograde amnesia, rendering him unable to store recent memories. For this reason, Leonard Shelby has to always keep 'mementos' of what he's done or where he's visited so he doesn't repeat himself to people he meets/remeets, to make them re-aware of his condition. This proves to be profitable method for Leonard who begins to investigate who's responsible for his wife's death and whether another man who also suffers from amnesia, related to Leonard's past-insurance work, is somehow connected. Leonard meets multiple people like 'Teddy' and Natalie who might be able to help him determine if his wife's killer is indeed named "John G" which is a clue Leonard insists has bearing.

There're multiple plot-twists and chronological sequences are often reversed or presented in forward slow-motion to create the noir-psychological atmosphere of contemplative demon-hunting. Overall, one might recognize the distinct detective-fingerprints in this rather engaged Nolan film we appreciate later in his detective-oriented thrilling Batman films starring Christian Bale.



Christopher Nolan is part of a new-gen series of film-makers like Alex Proyas, Tim Burton, Wes Andersen, and Sam Raimi who like exploring the psyche-nuances of immersed detective imagination. This makes for more artistic cinematic experiences, I think!


The dynamic between Leonard and Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) is quite nice, and she's somewhat helping to ease his fractured sense of emotional/romantic depression.


Guy Pearce is perfect as Leonard Shelby, a man resolute to come off as sincere about his investigation while being humble about his depression and amnesia. He's forward about presenting his memory-retrieval 'mementos' and is almost proud of his ability to consider them hallmarks of his earnest pursuit of justice.


He's often driving or thinking or sitting or dreaming while rummaging through his investigation 'mementos' while the supporting-cast, quite good in this tight but small-budget dialogue-driven film, offer him feedback for his sense of repiecing together his tragedy.


Leonard has to deal with how/why all his memory-retrieval tattoos are meaningful and may help him solve these terrible puzzles, but he also has to deal with the terrible suspicion that he's being played like a fool!


We feel sad for Leonard while equally engaged by the thought that here's an insurance 'guy' who's imply forward about justice-retrieval.


Overall, I think this is one of the finer if more under-rated modern noir-psychological films, and it's a great pre-Batman achievement for outstanding film-maker Christopher Nolan. It's a very good Valentine's Day movie I think, and it makes for great amnesia table conversations! I give it 3/5 stars, but only if I give, say William Wyler's Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) 5/5 stars. I recommend the watch!


"Money is everything" (Ecclesiastes)


Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2010
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On the way to the Dark Tower.
Haven't seen it in a long time. But I enjoyed it. Pearce is a good actor.


Diamond Member
Nov 26, 2011
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Great movie. One of the best.

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