Memento (2000)

Rating: B+

Dir: Christopher Nolan
Star: Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano, Carrie-Anne Moss

I’ll resist the temptation to do something obvious, like write this review in reverse to mirror the structure of a film that begins with someone being shot, then unspools in short chunks backwards. It mimics the hero’s mental affliction; after a blow to the head, his memory is shot in such a way that he can’t make any new memories. This makes the task of unravelling his wife’s murder tricky, to say the least – he tattoos case notes on his body to assist the process. Guy Pearce delivers a fine performance as Leonard, a man forced to live his life in ten minute chunks.

Joe Pantoliono provides good backup as “Teddy”, who may be a good guy, cop or the villain of the piece – perm any two from three – but the real credit must go to Christopher Nolan with his scriptwriter’s head on. What could be a gimmick movie starts to unravel in a fabulous way, just when you think you have it figured out. Unlike Pulp Fiction, which unspooled out of order for no better reason than Quentin thought it’d be cool, there is a purpose and beautiful structure evident here. After a season spent leaving my brain at the multiplex entrance, it was a real pleasure to have a film that demands your attention and involvement.