Review: Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc One: Commentary with 3 alternative
endings (109 minutes).
Disc Two: Interview with Christopher Nolan (24 mins). Interview
with Guy Pearce (13 mins). Anatomy of a Scene (26 mins). Biographies.
Reverse version of feature Easter egg.
Disc Three: Shooting Script split screen (109 mins). Memento Mori
(34 mins). Galleries. Website. International trailer.
IT SEEMS ironic that a film about someone's battle against memory
loss should be so memorable, but the fact remains that Memento
is the type of movie you will remember long after the final reel.
As clever as The Usual Suspects
and as intricate after the event as The Sixth Sense, Memento,
directed by Brit Christopher Nolan, should not be missed by anyone
who enjoys challenging movie-making which dares to be different.
Guy (LA Confidential) Pearce stars as Leonard Shelby, a former
insurance investigator, now searching for the man who raped and
killed his wife. Only trouble is, he suffers from short term memory
loss and cannot create new memories, an affliction caused by the
head injury he sustained while trying to prevent the men from
murdering his beloved.
Leonard can remember his life before the attack but anything
since then is impossible to hold on to for longer than 15 minutes.
As such, he can often forget where he is, what he is doing and
who he is with.
But driven by instinct and rage, Leonard is determined to uncover
the truth and pieces together the facts using polaroids (for the
people and places he needs to remember) and tattoos on his body
(for the facts).
Helping him is Joe Pantoliano's dubious
Teddy, a man who may or may not be his friend, and Carrie-Anne
Moss's Natalie, an equally untrustworthy bartender who may be
using Leonard to solve her own problems.
To complicate matters still further, Nolan's film is told backwards,
so that the start is the end and matters unfold from there. So
anyone expecting an easy couple of hours is best advised to steer
clear, for this is demanding, even exhausting cinema which requires
every ounce of attention just to keep up.
That isn't to say the film is impossible to follow, merely it
requires attention, but it is constructed in such a way that it
never fails to command your attention.
Interspersed with the main story is a vignette concerning Leonard's
former life, about a case he investigated involving a man with
a similar affliction, which is worth paying attention to for the
answers it may hold.
The proceedings also benefit from a great deal of humour (most
of it dark), some well executed set pieces, and some blistering
turns from all involved.
Pearce, in particular, stands out as Leonard, a man clinging
on to a former life in a bid to do the right thing. His frustrations,
his anxieties and his utter confusion are brilliantly conveyed
in a performance of quiet intensity, never more so than when he
discusses the nature of memory.
But Pantoliano and Moss (who last starred together in The
Matrix) are no less impressive, revelling in shady roles which
may hold vital pieces to the puzzle.
Nolan's screenplay is equally breathtaking, providing viewers
with some thought-provoking material before allowing them to see
the complete picture via a well concealed twist ending.
The path to the truth may, at times, be mentally fatiguing but
the payoff is more than worth it. I can guarantee, you will be
talking about it for days.