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There is a reason this little 'indie' film is one of the most talked about films of the year. It is the same reason that it sat in theatres building an audience through word of mouth with almost no advertising to back it up. It is smart, well-acted, has an intriguing storyline, oh, and that storyline, is all backwards.
Christopher Nolan's first feature length film has blown away many a viewer with this film and may do so again with next year's release Insomnia, a re-make of the 1997 foreign film of the same name. Story has it that Nolan secured funding for this film by displaying an earlier short film entitled Following at a Hong Kong film festival and asking the audience to donate cash. If so, the faith paid off.
A quick synopsis without revealing too much here: Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man on a mission - to find and kill the man who raped and murdered his wife. He's also a man with a problem - the savage attack also gave him brain damage, and he now suffers from a rare and un treatable form of memory loss. He knows who he is and recalls everything up to the incident, but now he can no longer create new memories, meaning he can't remember people he's met, places he's been or things he's done even fifteen minutes ago. He's instinctively learned a system to help him - scribbled notes and photos in his pockets, tattoos all over his body for the really important clues he discovers - as he struggles through his frustrating handicap to find vengeance, always unsure of who to trust. That's the studio re-cap but it fits the bill pretty nicely.
Guy Pearce is having one of those careers that people will eventually look back on and praise as not only daring but unique, interesting but filled with so much diversity it will be surprising to realize how many Guy Pearce films we have seen. From Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Ravenous, Memento and the up-coming Time Machine.
Nolan also hired most of the talented side from The Matrix to brings this dark little story to screen. Both Carrie-Anne Moss and Joey Pantoliano are a welcome addition to the flick and adept at playing either supporting roles or leads. One might think Moss would be burning out what with four releases in the same year (Chocolat, Red Planet, Memento and The Crew) but she has her best foot forward in this production. As for Joey Pantoliano, I have yet to see him give a bad performance, the man is completely reliable for his character. I would love to say what makes them give such great performances but to say too much would be to give elements away.
However, the problem with most thrillers/suspense flicks is the limited amount of views you can get with them...once you know the whodunit part that's usually it for the flick. A few exceptions...well, The Usual Suspects is one that comes off the top of my head, and Memento can now be added. One can actually get more out of a second and third viewing of this title than they did the first time, pick up all the clues and a sneaky little jump cut thrown in the next time around.
"Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts.!" - Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby.
With Memento now available on VHS and DVD it is sure to have a large word of mouth following and fans will be waiting to see if Director Christopher Nolan can repeat his magic for his 'second' film. I know I will be lining up on opening day for it.
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot
Director & Cast Biographies
Interactive Motion Menus
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
The DVD Review:
Personally, as much as I loved this movie I would hold off on buying the first release of this disc. Two simple reasons, the word of mouth on this title is already huge so they wanted to cash in on that success. Second there is too much potential for this disc to not have a special edition just waiting in the wings. Features such as a commentary and interviews with the cast and a full version of the movie in its proper order could be perks waiting for us.
As it is the first version of this title does allow you to watch the movie in its proper order, only scene by scene and the disc keeps stopping and reloading a new scene. Very slow, time consuming and takes one out of the events happening on screen. Sadly, other than that and the trailer nothing really to write about here.
I have read on some sites that there contains an interview with director Christopher Nolan as well as a teaser trailer for his upcoming film Insomnia. I didn't see it on the version I had so if anybody knows more about this 'other' version, please let us know.