Film Nerd’s Choice: Memento
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Callum Keith Rennie
Synopsis: Leonard Shelby is a man unable to retain short-term memory ever since the night his wife was murdered, is on the tail of her killer. His key to solving the mystery is tattoos on his body and photographs he has made notes on to recall what clues he has already discovered. The story is told in reverse, such that the audience is also unaware of the events preceding the scene currently in play.
For a film that opens with a man killing the murderer of his wife, and then proceeds to show how he discovered who the murderer was, it is amazing that the film can remain as consistently gripping as this one is. It has been a long time since I last saw, yet the impact I had felt watching it remains years after that first and only viewing. Pearce is amazing as Leonard Shelby, a man obsessed with hunting down the murderer of his wife, said murder being the last true memory he retains. Subsequent to this, he rarely remembers incidents for more than ten minutes of film time. Apparently, I have read that as such, this is one of the most accurate portrayals of a memory loss condition ever presented on-screen, a list that also quite pleasantly surprisingly includes Dory from Finding Nemo.
The film does open with a literal bang, as indicated above, with Leonard taking out his vengeance when finally at the end of his quest. He is an interesting character, tattooed with the more significant clues he has discovered, always checking his photos that remind him who people he has met are, and whether past experiences tell him he can trust them or not. Some segments open quite kinetically, which in itself keeps the audiences curiosity piqued wondering how these action sequences even started. It is basically a film that heralds the amazing output of cinema that Nolan has now been recognised for.
It is difficult to say more without delving into the motives of each character, friend and foe. All I want to say, giving away no spoilers, is treat yourself to this film, and let the mystery unfold… backwards.
5 stars out of 5.