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MEMENTO

SYNOPSIS:
Former insurance investigator Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is searching for his wife's killer. Hampering his efforts is a rare and incurable condition that affects his short term memory. Although able to recall details of his life before his wife's death, Leonard is unable to retain new information for longer than a few minutes. Living in a rundown motel, he uses a detailed system of notes, Polaroid photographs and tattoos to keep track of the leads he has established. Those who play a part in Leonard's quest include the unpredictable Natalie (Carrie-Ann Moss) and the mysterious Teddy (Joe Pantoliano).

"If you want to send your brain to the gym, this is the film for you. The workout will include backflips, somersaults, long jump and high jump, parallel time bars and quite a few crunches. You will also get some training in working through disorientation and crawling through thick fog, but the upside of it all will be a sense of exhilaration as you allow the air to escape from your lungs after 112 minutes and 30 seconds (or so). Guy Pearce puts another shrimp on his American career barbie in a high-energy but distilled performance that is like a well wound spring waiting to explode. Carrie-Ann Moss is a brilliant choice as Natalie, whose complexities and motives make the film even more complex than originally anticipated. The film plays with cinematic structure and language just like a short story might play with your mind. But don’t listen or read too much more – just dive into this shimmering mirage of a movie and work it out for yourself. Take a big breath first."
Andrew L. Urban

"Stylish and original, Memento is an intriguing and moody thriller that beguiles, amazes, confronts and dazzles. Compelling and thought provoking, its visuals are striking, with sharp editing and the grainy black and white integrated with colour. It's an unsettling ride: a back-to-front, inside-out puzzle, where the question mark becomes even more absolute as glimpses of information are revealed. Through its clever script and assured direction we meet three richly drawn characters whose complexity is magnetic. Guy Pearce (lean and very fit) is assured, cool, and convincing, his truth is reliant on instinct and his written notes. Pearce carries the film effortlessly with charisma and ambiguity; Carrie-Ann Moss brings great depth to Natalie and Joe Pantoliano haunts as the congenial but ever-slimy Teddy. Films about amnesia have always been a source of fascination. What greater terror than to doubt one's self? How could we ever forget those fork marks on the crisp tablecloth in Spellbound, or the dark daze of Dark City? What is truth? Is it fact, perception or can it be – must it be - what we want it to be? Memento is a satisfying edgy interlude that triggers the key to the door of our own imagination."
Louise Keller

"Memento is everything a revenge thriller should be and much more to boot. From the very first images of a murder site polaroid which is followed by the killing itself played in reverse, Christopher Nolan's film is a juicy treat at every turn. And there are multiple twists and turns as Guy Pearce navigates his way through the blur his life has become since his wife's death. The "Death Wish" premise is nothing new but the treatment here raises the thriller to an artform. Using cinematic technique you won't find described by me because it's thrilling to discover once the lights have dimmed, Nolan makes us in the audience work as hard as Leonard. By that I mean that you need to take mental notes and remember back three or four scenes to keep a grip on what's happening. It can be done and it's a captivating exercise in manipulation and deduction. Leonard's labyrinthine journey is gripping enough on its own but Nolan adds spice to the mix with an equally compelling side-story involving a man who suffered from a similar malaise as Leonard during his days as an insurance investigator. Not a second is wasted as this deliciously tricky tale unfolds and it's given added class by a clutch of fine performances. Pearce is charisma-plus in the lead, Carrie-Ann Moss makes a great fist of her saviour/femme fatale role and Joe Pantoliano oozes rat-like charm as the enigmatic Teddy. See this before word of mouth spoils all the surprises. A special trivia note: it's always worth staying for the credits because you never know who's going to show up. I'm pleased to point out to fellow students of cheesy horror pics of the 70's and 80's that John "Bud" Cardos is listed here as a driver. Cardos' directing credits in better days include Kingdom Of The Spiders (1977), The Dark (1979), Mutant (1983) and Outlaw Of Gor (1987). He began his career as an uncredited bird handler on Psycho (1960)."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

Read Jenny Cooney Carrillo's INTERVIEW with Guy Pearce

MEMENTO (MA15+)
(US)

CAST: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

PRODUCER: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd

SCRIPT: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan (story)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Wally Pfister

EDITOR: Dody Dorn

MUSIC: David Julyan

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patti Podesta

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2001

VIDEO RELEASE DATE: October 10, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVI Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: February 20, 2002 (Sell-Thru)







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