Plot – A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife’s murderer – Memento.
Director – Christopher Nolan
Released – 2000
There are very few films that after multiple revisits can keep my attention so absolutely as Memento does. This superbly crafted film noir remains one of the most riveting thrillers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. You see, what makes this movie so interesting is how it is told, with the scenes shot in black & white taking you forward in time, while the scenes in colour do the opposite and take you backwards, with the two timelines eventually converging towards the end.
This interesting filmmaking decision not only separates the film from the countless other mystery-thrillers that came out around the same time, but also helped the audience form an enormous amount of sympathy with Leonard (Pearce). A character who can no longer form new long-term memories and thus can’t remember who he’s already spoken to and who to trust. Something that the viewer also feels as the movie progresses – it is only later we see the cause.
Guy Pearce puts in an outstanding performance as this damaged individual and entirely convincing in his role. Aided by the wonderful support offered by Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss.
Overall, Nolan proves he doesn’t need a big budget to produce excellent cinema and while you may be forgiven for thinking going backwards would spoil the ending, this turns out not to be the case, but rather, enhances both the pay-off and the enjoyment of watching all the puzzle pieces fall into place. It’s a shame Nolan wasn’t able to re-capture this magic when making TeneT.