Memento (2000)

This is one of those reviews that really support my tagline: Unqualified movie reviewer praises already critically acclaimed movies. What can I say? At least I’m honest.

Considering the massive amount of articles, reviews, and Youtube conspiracy videos that come up through a quick Google search, I have high expectations for Memento. Sometimes my tastes don’t align with the big-shot film critics but this time, I have joined the masses who all agree:

Memento is pretty darn cool.

Real quick, just in case you forgot the plot of the film, Guy Pearce (who looks like a hollowed out Brad Pitt, does he not?) plays Leonard, a hell-bent man trying avenge his murdered wife. He’s determined, he’s resourceful, but fun catch, he suffers from short-term loss.

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So Leonard, resourceful man that he is, learns how to cope with his memory loss: he leaves notes scattered everywhere. In his car, in his pocket, tattooed on his body. And in his quest to find his wife’s killer, Leonard makes a lot of enemies . . . and some of them may be posing as his friends. (Dun dun dun.)

This is one of those movies that you could watch ten times and still find a new detail to appreciate. I was really impressed by the effectiveness of non-linear structure, especially when the reverse-chronological timeline reveals new twists and turns in the narrative. Also, the film was incredibly engaging and fast-paced (considering it’s two hours long) – and it’s a puzzle. We’re trying to figure out the big twist – because it’s coming – before Leonard does.

I get why everyone loves this movie, because I do too, but it’s not perfect. It’s a basic revenge story at the core (and of course it’s about a dead wife). Also, I find that movies have desensitized audiences towards violence to the point where it seems like such a reasonable explanation that an average man – with an average, non-violent/physically demanding job – can flip a mental switch, and kill someone in cold-blood. Leonard’s not a detective, a soldier, or a cop. He, like the rest of us average joes, shouldn’t be capable of committing murder so easily.

That’s my big gripe with the film. I enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the ride, but in the end, I don’t think Leonard’s character development went deep enough.

And I’m not going to lie. When the big, plot shattering reveal happens in the movie, part of me thinks, Whoa that was so cool! but another part of me also says, Didn’t that happen in Shutter Island?

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I know Memento came first. But saw Shutter Island first, so it kinda loses its impact.

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5 thoughts on “Memento (2000)

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  1. Great review! It took me way too long to see this movie. It’s definitely up there with my all time favourites now! Have you seen Shimmer Lake? It’s by no means anywhere near Memento-quality, but it’s a similar kind of movie.

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