Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HIdden Gems: Memento

Can you trust yourself? You're always so confident in whatever you said or did that you never question it. Perhaps you forgot? Maybe an accident, or could it have been on purpose? You confused? Well, if you like that, then you'd probably like Chris Nolan's Memento.

Memento is easily one of the most confusing films of all-time, it racks your brain for days on end after you first see it. It kind of flirts with you the entire time, leading you on and then doing a complete 180, like a seductive vixen who's really an evil Hydra from Greek mythology. But in the end, after you have some time to process it, you realize just how thoughtful, and overall satisfying the experience of Memento is, that you wanna see it again.

Memento is the story of insurance investigator Leonard who was hit in the head by the man who killed his wife. Leonard no longer has the ability to form new memories, resorting to taking photos and tattooing himself in order to remember important information as he searches for his wife's killer. The main question is who can he trust? Can he trust himself? If he can't remember, then anyone is a suspect.

Writer and director Chris Nolan really takes an in depth look at memories. The film plays in two separate narratives, one in color going backwards, and the other in black-and-white going forwards. At the end, the two narratives collide, resulting in a twist that I don't think anyone could see coming. Nolan expertly makes you question your own thoughts, your own memories, to the point to where you don't trust yourself at the end of the day, but I think that was Nolan's goal with the film. Of course, it's as thought provoking as it is entertaining.

The film is a superbly crafted revenge thriller, featuring clever writing, smart direction, and magnificent acting. The cinematography and score are fascinating to behold and really add to the film noir elements of the story.

What Nolan did here was create this mystery where literally anything could happen and it wouldn't be too farfetched. Why? Because when you're telling a story backwards, about a character who can't remember anything past the last ten or twenty minutes, you can pull just about anything, which makes Memento all the more fun when you watch it.

Memento is a thrilling ride from beginning to end, one that takes a few viewings before you can fully appreciate it in all its brilliance, but once you can, I believe you will champion the film as much as I do.

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