And then that happened. Memento is one of those films that hit the screen and everyone scrambles to try to figure out where the hell it came from. With the benefit of a talented cast and a more intricate story, Christopher Nolan creates a film that less talented artists would have accepted as the pinnacles of their careers.
It has become quite clear over his career that the mind is what Nolan is obsessed with in his stories. Memento is built on the premise of guilt, innocence, and the drive for closure of a mentally damaged man. I may not be the biggest fan of the ending, but the journey that Guy Pearce goes on is mesmerizing to watch. The lengths to which he goes to lead a somewhat normal life without any short-term memory were amazing. I have no idea where Nolan thought of using your body as a notebook when you need to remember a crucial piece of information but the man has a flair for the original. Then you add in how all the people in Leonard’s world are clearly manipulating him and its amazing that a person in his situation would even be able to get out of bed in the morning. Of course, the best way for this story to be told would be from different points in time. If the main character is constantly trying to piece things together from scratch, the least we can do is try to put the puzzle pieces of the plot together before the different timelines come together in the end.
Guy Pearce clearly does not get enough work equal to his talent. He was phenomenal in L.A. Confidential and then later in The Proposition, but Memento is his defining role. The whole damn thing depended on him portraying this extremely handicapped man. Over and over again he had to become this blank slate attempting to retrace his life from small scraps of information and each time it was believable. On top of that, his voiceover may have been more powerful than his actual visual performance. It was the heart and soul of the movie.
The Matrix provides the two significant supporting characters with Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss. Who doesn’t enjoy Joey Pants? He is definitely having an entire shitload of fun here. He is always grinning and messing with Guy, while constantly seeming shady and untrustworthy. Then Carrie gets introduced as the damsel in distress and she is just as shady and untrustworthy as everyone else. Everyone is manipulating poor Guy.
I wouldn't call the ending a flaw but it did leave me unsatisfied. It tied the story up fine and I usually enjoy a dark twist but this one did not click for me. Ah well, Memento is still a fantastic movie that put Christopher Nolan on the map.
9 out of 10