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MEMENTO (2000 - R)
An injury sustained while trying to his wife, has left Leonard Shelby with no short term memory. With the aid of notes, tattoos and a Polaroid camera, Leonard is on a mission to find and punish his wife's murderer.
Written and directed by: Christopher Nolan.
Tagline: Some memories are best forgotten.
Leonard Shelby has this condition, you see, He has no short term memory, so please don't be offended if he doesn't remember you. It is nothing personal. How does he live his life? Well he has a system. Having a system is the key; otherwise he would just be a vegetable.
The film opens with a murder occurring in reverse and in slow motion. Leonard has shot a man and we do not know why. The rest of the film tells the story backwards from this moment, so the audience, like Leonard Shelby does not know who is telling the truth or why Leonard is doing what he is doing. Memento is a story of mystery and revenge, but what makes it different from most films in its genre, is the audience learns, like the protagonist, what is going on in fragments. While this technique could have resulted in confusing the audience, its well excuetion instead keeps you guessing throughout the entire film. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the murder scene which occurs at the beginning of the film is again shown at the end but now in forward motion and how differently one feels the second time viewing it.
Guy Pierce (LA Confidential) does a stellar job playing a man who has no short term memory. He transfers his paranoia, confusion and grief easily across the screen and to the audience.
Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Fugitive, The Sopranos Television series) plays the slimy Teddy, a man who seems to have a high interest in Leonard and is whose lies we are not to believe. His real identity is unknown. Is he a cop, a concerned friend or is he the man that Leonard has been searching for all along? Joe Pantoliano steals the show with his flamboyant and slightly creepy portrayal of ‘Teddy’. He is annoying and enigmatic but as the film progress one begins to feel attached to him.
Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix Trilogy, Chocolat) plays Natalie, a women who has lost someone also and whose eyes startle in recognition then to confusion upon first seeing Leonard in his car.
Several prominent television stars have small roles in the film. Sammy Jenkins is played by Stephen Toblowsky, a prominent character actor who often plays annoying business-man types. You may recognize him from such films as Groundhog Day, Sneakers and Spaceballs. Several prominent television stars have small roles in the film. Harriet Harris plays Sammy’s grieving wife and has guest starred on many of the past decades hit TV series. Her most memorable role is as Frasier Crane's slightly evil agent, Bebe Glazer on Frasier. Another memorable guest starring role was as Eve on the Xfiles. Catherine Shelby, Leonard's murdered wife is played by CSI’s Joja Fox.
Director Christopher Nolan got the idea for Memento from his brother, John Nolan. One day Jonathan Nolan was talking to his brother about an idea he had for a short story. Christopher liked his idea so much that he asked if he could develop that idea into a movie. One of the best special features on the DVD is Jonathan's short story. This film brought Christopher Nolan international notice and brought his idie style to the mainstream. Other Christopher Nolan films include Insomnia (2002), Following (1998) and Batman Begins (2005).
The film was nominated for two academy awards, one for best editing and best screenplay. It is imperative to watch this film in an environment where you can give it your full attention, otherwise you won't be able to fully enjoy it. Viewers who enjoy film noir and have a taste for the unusual will love Memento.
Guy Pearce - Leonard Shelby
"How am I supposed to heal if I can't… feel time?" - Leonard
"You're living" - teddy only for revenge." - Leonard
"We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different." - Leonard
"Must be his. I don't think they'd let someone like me carry a gun." - Leonard