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carrieanne moss, christopher nolan, guy pearce, joe pantoliano, memento

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Old 13th Sep 2010, 14:48   #1
Noumenon
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Default Memento

Leonard Shelby commits a murder and he doesn't know why. Why? Not because he can't remember doing it, after all, he only just did it. Not because his wife was once raped and murdered, because the mysterious culpret also assaulted him, destroying Leonard's ability to form new memories, so he can't really know anything that might have happened after he hit the bathroom floor beside her. No, he committed murder because a photo told him to, and now he'll take another one to remind himself what he's done. Because by the time the new photo has finished developing, he won't remember a thing about it.

*

I remain unable to review Inception, although I think I'm getting closer. Might have to watch it one more time first, which I would say is a bit of a review in itself. Anyway, I just last night watched Christopher Nolan's breakthough movie Memento again and it reminded me in a general way of why I found the follow up Insomnia so dissappointing: because Memento is approaching being a perfect film. A simple revenge story with a twist, told via a simple but unique concept: the story is told backwards. A couple of hours of dark-room entertainment, this should be a perfect mental challenge for a focussed audience, and it works brilliantly well... on the surface.

I wonder how well the events would hold together if viewed in chronological order (which someone told me was possible to do with a rather neat Easter Egg on a special DVD edition); in particular, why "the villain" doesn't do some simple obvious thing to escape Leonard's attention, or why he doesn't do a better job of manipulating a man with brain damage (especially seeing how easy someone else finds it within hours of first meeting him); but overall, I'm not much troubled by these thoughts.

There are lots of questions that could be asked and Nolan hasn't attempted to answer them all, purposefully. I didn't like Insomnia and was dissatisfied with The Prestige, entertained with reservations by both his Batman movies, so in my opinion not until Inception has he again created a world so cleverly cohesive and interesting as this one. Memento examines a man who is chained to a past that dwindles away for everyone but himself, who visits the present for only minutes at a time, whose future depends on who presents the most convincing facts, in a world which fades from consciousness almost as soon as it passes out of his sight. This is a story grounded in doubt. What could anyone have but questions?
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