Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Directed by Christopher Nolan

Writing credits Jonathan Nolan (short story Memento Mori)
Christopher Nolan (screenplay)

MPAA: Rated R for violence, language and some drug content.

Runtime: 113 min
Main cast:
Guy Pearce .... Leonard/Lenny

Carrie-Anne Moss .... Natalie
Joe Pantoliano .... Teddy Gammell
Jorja Fox .... Leonard's Wife

Stephen Tobolowsky .... Sammy Jankis

Harriet Sansom Harris .... Mrs. Jankis

Life is short. Before you realize that, it's over. For most people, there is a set of unfinished tasks that remains to be done. One fine day, you plan to create the to-do list for your life, but that still does not leave you with enough time to get to all of them. Also, once you read the end of this line, you will not remember anything you read since the beginning of this paragraph.

Life is short. Before you realize that, it's over.

No, I'm not simply trying to fill this post up with repetitive sentences but that's how imaginative your life can be if it were split in small episodes, each completely disjoint from the other. Memento captures one such episode of Lenny (Guy Pearce) who suffers from this "condition" - which does not allow him to form new and permanent memories. This problem starts right after an accident he suffers which allows him to remember all happenings before then, but all his new memories are temporary until time snaps and everything restarts for him.
To keep the past tied together, he carried a Polaroid camera with him, taking pictures of people and places and labeling them with names and descriptions to remind him of all the past happenings.

Throw into this mix the caveat that all scenes have to be played (and hence) remembered in the reverse order and you have another layer of complexity added to the events. The scenes are interspersed with other back and white scenes that represents the present, each serving as a precursor to the main scenes. Natalie (Carrie-Anne, Trinity of the Matrix fame) is this mysterious woman who suddenly appears and seems to know Lenny (or does she?). Teddy (
Joe Pantoliano) comes across as Lenny's samaritan (or is he?) who seems to be ready to help him, except that Lenny is not ready to trust him against the description as part of the photographs he has of Teddy that grimly says "Do not believe his lies".

Who takes advantage of who and what happens then is explained with each scene as it expands more and more on Lenny's past -- the whole crux of the movie is based on the three primary characters: Lenny, Natalie and Teddy. I will be playing spoil-sport if I reveal any more details.
There comes a point in your life where you start questioning reality and wonder if there are events in your life which you wish had never happened. Memento takes us into the life of one such person in this very dilemma. What is real? Who to believe? What to do? Who to KILL? Lenny has to make this decision...alone.

I would rate this as a very unique movie (FYI, this was also the main theme for the Tamil hit movie starring Surya called 'Ghajini'), something that will stimulate your brain cells. There's speculation even now about what the real ending is and many interpretations of the ending (or starting, depending how you look at it) exist. You may either end up tearing your hair apart or remain seated in awe at the very end; either way it will be a thriller.

Official site


Blogger Manoj Pillai said...

You didn't mention that the movie runs in a staggered reverse fashion.

6:42 AM  

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