Pros:great acting, great movie making, great everything!!!
The Bottom Line: A Fast pace thriller that will get you thinking from the first minute till well after you leave the theater...
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
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Every once in a while a movie comes along that is so good that it leaves you speechless, puzzled, and wanting to see it again. Enter Memento…
After watching the Mummy Returns and A Knights Tale, which were both totally horrible, I was done with Hollywood’s “blockbusters,” at least for a while. Both movies had pretty cheesy story lines that were so predictable it was ridiculous. The acting was horrible in both and there was nothing in the movies besides senseless action. In the case of the Mummy there were lots of bad computer graphics and in the case of A Knight’s Tale what seem liked the same jousting scene from different camera angles over and over again. Anyways, the point is I was really ready for a “risky” independent film that makes you think, a movie targeted toward people with better IQs then fifth graders, no offense to fifth graders.
Memento is one of those “risky” independent films. It is a very unique movie that defies all the rules of movie making. Memento combines extraordinary screenplay, direction, and acting into a movie unlike any other I have ever seen. The first thing you should know about this movie is that it is backwards!!! It starts off at the end and goes towards the beginning of the story. The fact that you start out knowing what happens and work your way backwards towards the beginning may sound bad, but the way that the director makes it is very interesting. Knowing what happens at the ends does not affect the viewing pleasure of this movie at all. In fact going back wards is one of the many things that make this movie so unique and fascinating.
The story of Memento is about Leonard a man on a mission to find and kill the man who raped and murdered his wife. The only problem is that in the struggle with the attackers, Leonard received un-repairable brain damage that prevents him from making new memories. He knows exactly who he is and recalls everything up to the attack; however, because of his condition he can no longer remember any new people he's met and places he's been. He can start talking to someone and forget who or why he is talking to mid conversation. He has devised a system to help him, he remembers by the scribbled notes he has stuck all over the place, photos in his pockets, and the tattoos all over his body for the really important clues he has discovered. Always unsure of who to trust, Leonard struggles to find vengeance with his incredible handicap or so we think…
Memento is independent film making at its best. It is incredible to think that a first time filmmaker can make a film so good that it makes many of the other films by “acclaimed” filmmakers seem like Joe Dirts and Battle Field Earths. The movie progresses from the end of the story in about 15 minute blocks. So a scene would go on for about 15 minutes and right when you feel like you’re really into the story you are brought back to before what just happened in a totally new scene. As you beginning to discover the new scene it is slowly linked to the first scenes and once again just as you adjust to this scene it is brought to an end at the exact moment in time that started the scene before it. One again you will be brought to a totally new scene that happens right before the one you have just seen and so on… This may seem just a bit confusing, but I assure you, you will get use to it really fast. This method of story telling is really effective. In this way you are given all these clues at the end and you progress back in blocks which each reveal a clue or some aspect of the story that you already know about, but don’t really know how or why it is. There is something to discover in every scene because every scene is like a puzzle, and before you can pat yourself on the back for figuring it out… a new scene has began and you are thrown into another puzzle.
Added into the main story are another story and many ”mini” scenes that are revealed piece by piece as flashbacks. The director put black and white to good use and mixes in many black and white sections that sort of blend into the color scenes to show many of the flashbacks. Over all the movies is like many little puzzles that make up a big puzzle. Although it may leave you totally puzzled and confused at first, if you take the time and the effort to think about it and figure it out it can be really awarding.
Combined with this spectacular plot and great movie making is some of the best acting I have ever seen. Guy Pearce really brings Lenny’s intense and confused character to life. He makes it really realistic and believable. Joe Pantoliano plays the crocked Teddy and does an excellent job. And Carrie-Anne Moss gives probably one of her best performances. All the characters in this movie were really believable both in the scripting and in the acting.
Overall this is not the kind of movie for people who are looking for a straightforward movie. You really need to pay attention closely to every little detail. There are many plot twists in this movie, which require a keen eye for detail. This movie is very serious and moves at a surprisingly fast pace; however, it does have its moments of comedy to break up the tense mood. But over all this is a thriller that will have you thinking from the first minute to well after you leave the theater… If you’re up for a movie that will really make you think this is it. Memento will leave you speechless and perplexed. If will take you at least an hour to piece together everything and like me you WILL be back for more…
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Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older