Saturday 5 July 2008

Memento [2000]

There are thrillers, and there are thrillers. The former come by dozens. But one gets to see only so much of the latter as this terrific offbeat modern noir, directed and adapted to screen by Christopher Nolan (from a short story by his brother) bears ample proof. Memento follows the cyclical journey of Leonard (Guy Pearce) aka Lenny - a former investigator for an insurance company, suffering from short-tern memory loss, who is desperately and meticulously (and damn ingeniously) searching for his wife’s murderer. Throw in the slippery glib-talking Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) who acts as if he is Lenny’s best buddy, and a cold and manipulative femme fatale Natalie (Carrie Ann-Moss) who knows an opportunity when she sees one, and you have a delectable trio to mount the perfect sucker punch. Told in reverse order, the mesmerizing, albeit fragmented, narrative allows the viewers to get a feel of the protagonists “condition”, as well as get to realize that nothing is what it seems – that everything (allies, enemies, victims) takes a new meaning as the movie progresses and the plot reverses. Great performances, a haunting soundtrack, a wacky sense of humour that is almost understated, a uniquely original style of storytelling – these add up to present an absolutely incredible film by one of the most sought after auteurs of this generation.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Crime Thriller/Post-Noir/Mystery
Language: English
Country: US


Anonymous said...

If you haven't, you should really watch Following, Nolan's first film. It's a nice precursor to Memento in style.

Shubhajit said...

I have heard a lot of positive things about Following. In fact I even have the movie with me. Will surely watch it sooner rather than later.

Shawn William Clarke said...

Yeah, the Following is really good. But, for me, his best film is Batman Begins.

Shubhajit said...

Sorry Shawn, got to disagree with you on that. Memento is one of those movies that even a good filmmaker like Nolan will find extremely difficult to better.

1minutefilmreview said...

Shawn - 'Batman Begins'??! Maybe the upcoming one ('Dark Knight') will come out on top but 'Batman Begins' is definitely not Nolan's best so far.

We say 'Following' holds that distinction for the moment.

Ed Howard said...

Yeah, Nolan has definitely not topped Memento as of yet. I've liked some of his later films, and Batman Begins especially is lots of fun, but he has yet to return to the formal ingenuity of this film. It's a perfect melding of form and content. Then again, I think Nolan is still in an experimenting/developing phase. He's trying a lot of different things, alternating his commercial Batman pictures with more idiosyncratic smaller works like The Prestige or his attempt at remaking Insomnia. Both of those films are ultimately well-meaning failures, to me, but he's still an interesting filmmaker who I think will someday blossom into one of the greats.

Shubhajit said...

@1Minute - i'm surprised you don't consider you don't consider Memento as Nolan's best work. However, some difference of opinion is good for discussion.

@Ed - i agree with you on that. Nolan is definitely in an experimental stage - laying his hands upon everything that he possibly can, increasing his oeuvre in the process. Memento, itself, is a damn audacious effort that even a Tarantino or Park Chan-Wook might have shied away from. i feel when someone manages to make something as brilliant as Memento, has got to be an exceptional talent. But then, even a Scorsese couldn't make another movie like Taxi Driver.

Steven S said...

Quite possibly the best film I have ever seen.

Following was very good but the story was a bit of a jumble - you could see the ideas were there but not the complete execution.