Memento (2000) – Film Review


Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Certificate: 15

By Sarah Morgan

Christopher Nolan is all the rage at the moment. His most recent big-screen release, Oppenheimer, has done astonishingly good business around the world, proving that in an industry dominated by popcorn movies, cerebral offerings made for grown-ups can still make a packet at the box office.

Not that Nolan isn’t keen on superhero films himself, having made the three Batman productions starring Christian Bale in the lead role. But his approach to them was rather darker and more thoughtful than anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced during the last few years.

Memento-(2003)-Film-ReviewBefore the Batman franchise made him a superstar director, Nolan was making smaller and arguably more intriguing productions, including Memento, which was his breakthrough project.

“Scribbled notes and tattoos”

The plot was inspired by a story written by Nolan’s own brother, Jonathan, and stars Guy Pearce as Leonard, a man whose ability to form new memories has been destroyed by a violent attack in which his wife was also killed.

Since then, Leonard has been trying to find the villain responsible, recording his discoveries in a series of scribbled notes and tattoos – if the facts are indelible on his body, they’re always there for reference.

Helping – or possibly hindering – him are two mysterious people, Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), who may be offering him assistance out of the goodness of their hearts, or for their own devious ends; we have to watch Leonard figure it all out before reaching a conclusion.

The story of what happened is also told in reverse as Leonard pieces together fragments of information, eventually figuring out the truth at the end of the movie. 


“Intriguing approach”

Memento isn’t the sort of tale you can dip in and out of while doing your household chores – not that you would want to. Its intriguing approach to storytelling grabs your attention from the outset and doesn’t let go, and if you miss a second, you may end up as confused and bewildered as the main protagonist.

Pearce – who’s recently been seen on the small screen reprising his role as Mike in Aussie soap Neighbours – is mesmerising in the lead role; we’re moved by his plight and probably feel grateful while watching him stumble through life that we’re not in the same position.

Pantoliano and Moss deliver strong supporting performances in Memento too. While Nolan proves that even on the tightest of budgets – or perhaps because of that – it’s possible to make an intelligent, inventive and gripping drama.

The special features on the disc include must-see interviews with the Nolan brothers and producer Emma Thomas (who is also Christopher’s wife), who offer fascinating insights into the film’s birth.

  • Special Features:
  • Limited Edition contents:
    • SteelBook®
    • Rigid box packaging
    • Booklet one: Remembrance of things past: time and memory in Christopher Nolan’s Memento by James Mottram
    • Booklet two: Jonathan Nolan’s Memento Mori short story
    • Replica Polaroid art cards, printed notes and beer mat enclosed in Leonard’s folder
    • Bonus second disc featuring the chronological edit (SD)
  • Brand new special features:
    • Remember - Actor Carrie-Anne Moss on Memento
    • Keepsake - Director Christopher Nolan on Memento
    • Memento Mori – Writer Jonathan Nolan on Memento
    • Memories - Producer Emma Thomas on Memento
    • A Leap into the Unknown - Producer Aaron Ryder on Memento
    • Musical Memories - Composer David Julyan on Memento
    • Commentary with film critics James Mottram and Sean Hogan
  • Archive extras:
    • Memento chronological cut
    • Remembering Memento
    • Anatomy of a Scene
    • IFC Interview with Christopher Nolan
    • Director’s commentary
  • Memento is available on Blu-ray from 101 Films

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