Memento – A Movie Review

Memento (film) - WikipediaMemento (2000)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Director: Christopher Nolan

Rating: R for heavy language, violence, and some sexual references


Yes . . . Another Christopher Nolan

In case anyone was wondering, I’m on Nolan #5 (for me personally).  I’ve now watched Dunkirk, Interstellar, The Prestige, Inception, and Memento.  I haven’t disliked any of these.  In fact, you could say I’m a little obsessed with Christopher Nolan considering I’ve watched 5 of his movies in the last two months.  I just don’t try to watch movies very often, but Nolan has me coming back for more every time!

I’ve never been this dedicated at watching movies.  Can someone tell me, am I going crazy?  I didn’t know it was possible to enjoy this many movies.  It’s been such a whirlwind.  Of course, I could be easier on myself, because Christopher Nolan is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill director.  His stories make you think, re-think, and think again.  He makes movies that you can’t go to sleep after because the story runs through your mind and raises all these questions.  Memento was no different.

It’s Not Amnesia

Leonard is alone.  His wife was raped and murdered by a man named John G.  There are many John G.’s in the world, but Leonard is tracking down his John G. anyway.  The police gave their own explanation for the events of that fateful night, but it wasn’t enough for Leonard.  Leonard seeks revenge for himself, for his wife, for the life he lost.  But there’s just one difficulty: Leonard doesn’t have the ability to make memories.

The night of the murder, Leonard attempted to save his wife but was hit in the back of the head and suffered severe brain damage.  Although he can remember everything before that night – his name, his wife, his old job – he is unable to remember short-term or make new memories.  If he talks to someone too long, he will forget who they are and what they started talking about.  If he meets you one day, he will not know you the next.  So how do you go about finding your wife’s killer, when you can’t even remember who your best friend is?  Easy.  Routine and a few tattoos.

I Smell Something Familiar . . .

I just watched Inception a little over a week ago.  I got very similar vibes from Memento last night.  The movies were made 10 years apart, but the story line is honestly quite close, albeit regarding different aspects of the mind.  But that’s beside the point.  On to the review!

There is so much language in this movie.  F–k is used all the time (if there is a time we go more than one minute without hearing it, I would be surprised), along with a little less usage of s–t.  Some derogatory and swear terms about male and female anatomy are used once or twice.  The term “whore” is used twice to describe Leonard’s wife.

We supposedly see Leonard’s wife being raped in the bathroom but she is covered by the shower curtain on the floor and the event happens so quickly that you can’t tell exactly what’s going on.  We do see Leonard’s wife in just her bra and underwear in a few separate flashbacks, although its not suggestive or sexual.  Leonard often is shirtless, due to the fact that his notes (i.e. tattoos) are covering his chest, abdomen, and arms.  When he runs through a hotel room and turns around after looking out the door, we do briefly see his backside, but again it happens so quickly you could miss it if you blinked.

The movie is not rated R for violence (at least in my view), but there is some violent content to be aware of.  We see short glimpses of Leonard’s wife being murdered (appears to be suffocation but hard to tell what’s happening), and we see Leonard as he is hit over the head.  He collapses to the floor after hitting the mirror, and blood quickly pools under his head.  At the very beginning of the film, we see a photograph of a very bloody scene.  We see glasses spattered with blood on a floor covered in blood.  The shot that killed the man is replayed but after the beginning, the scene always cuts before we see the blood.  There are a few fist fights, some scratches, and a few bloody noses.

Keeping that content in mind, I have to say, this was still an interesting story.  I was hooked from the first scene and I was continuously trying to make connections the entire way through the movie.  I also felt like Memento ended like Inception and gave the audience the power to make the decision of what’s really happening.  The chronology of the film as most people even remotely interested probably know, is filmed in reverse order.  It’s interesting because you see the end first, and you already start drawing conclusions.  Then it rewinds a bit and you see one or two scenes before the end and how it connects, and you change your mind about what’s happening.  Then it goes back again and you get another scene or two and see how that fits to the scene before the end, and you change your mind again.  It’s a very different way of filming, but it created suspense.

I am starting to really enjoy thrillers.  I don’t want any of that horror stuff, but if you’ve got a good thriller / mystery that will keep me thinking, I’m probably game to see it.  The way this story was built and progresses creates suspense like none other.  I believe this happens because it steps away from the usual chronology and you will draw a conclusion after every scene that is added.  I changed my thoughts about the plot every. single. time.  It was crazy!  And awesome!  And I want to watch it again!  😉

To Watch or Not to Watch

Most people probably shouldn’t watch this movie.  There is an incredible amount of language.  It’s almost every other word, but not quite.  The violence is not horrible, and there isn’t much sexuality present, but the language quickly catapults this movie to the R rating.  There are other

That being said, if language doesn’t bother you (maybe it should . . . and I’m pointing to myself here) this is a fascinating movie to watch.  As I said earlier, it is very similar to Inception.  If you haven’t watched Inception, you need to watch it.  If you want to see Memento in the light I’m seeing it in, then you need to watch Inception first.  If, however, you want to work up to the crazy, mind-blowing complexity of Inception, then I suggest you start with Memento.  Whatever you decide to do, watching these two movies within a few days / weeks of each other may be both helpful and fun.

With this in mind, if you don’t like language, if it bothers you to hear even a word or two, if the f-bomb makes you fidget after one or two uses, just go watch Inception.  The similarity between the two is enough that you won’t miss out if you don’t watch Memento.  Unless of course you’re on a Christopher Nolan kick (*cough* addiction) like I am, in which case, let me know what you think about Memento in the comments below!

Until the next mind-twisting Nolan film! 🙂

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