Skip to main content

Look Again: Re-Review of Memento

I used to write film reviews for Look in the late 90s and early 00s.

Very occasionally, Eyewear will feature a rearview-mirror glance back at some of the classic, and not-so-classic, films I reviewed then.

Today, a masterwork of looking back, Memento.




Memento
Thriller
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce and Carrie-Ann Moss

Rating: Five Specs (out of 5)

Tagline: “Photographic Memory”

MEMENTO is indelibly haunting and agonizingly suspenseful. The plot, despite its never-ending flashbacks, comes down to an elegant high concept, teased to perfection by new director and writer Christopher Nolan.
Leonard is a former insurance adjuster whose wife has been raped and murdered. In the attack, he received a massive head injury. Because of this, he has lost the ability to “make new memories” - everything he can recall is from before the horrific crime.
Imagine a world where you literally forget everything (except your name) every ten minutes. Leonard (played with intensity by Guy Pearce) is constantly waking up from a bad dream into a worse one. Where is he? Why does he have bloody marks on his face? Who is the woman sleeping in the bed beside him? Why is there a gun on top of the Gideon Bible in the sleazy motel room?
The only way he can keep any semblance of identity together is to follow a rigorous self-imposed regimen of short-term remembrance. This means he has tattooed his body from head to foot (backwards so it’ll read right in the mirror) with “facts” like “your wife was raped and murdered” - and the name of the prime suspect “John G.” he is obsessively hunting down to kill. There’s even a space above Leonard’s heart where he plans to tattoo the fact he’s got revenge, so he won’t forget that either.
To keep his day from disintegrating six times an hour, Leonard takes constant Polaroids of the things that matter most, like “my car” and the motel he’s staying at. His best friends — at the moment — seem to be a tough little guy called “Teddy” (Joe Pantoliano) and a skanky waitress named “Natalie” (Carrie-Ann Moss, as dark and sexy as in The Matrix).
On the back of their photos, he’s marked guides to their intentions, indicating whether they are liars or allies. Leonard has learned to trust only the notes he leaves to himself. As he says, with a condition like this, you have to be a good judge of your own handwriting.
Unbearably, we know (just a little) more about what his shady new friends have planned for him, and are forced to watch as Leonard stumbles from moment to moment, guided by the flimsiest of notes, photographs and pen marks on his hand. Sometimes this blind stumble through lost memories is so frustrating it’s funny. An existential x-ray as inevitable as a slow-mo bullet, this is the Film Noir equivalent of Dostoyevsky.
MEMENTO is one of the most thought-provoking and moving examinations of memory, love and betrayal ever put on film. It’s also a sly commentary on the mutability and impermanence of all images, including those committed to celluloid. As such, it’s as much about us, the audience, as it is about what’s flashing across the screen. You’ll leave the cinema suspicious of your loved ones and yourself.
You will never forget to remember things differently from now on.

Comments

Fox_Die said…
Memento being one of my favorite all time films does things that other movies try to do, it leaves you with the feeling of wanting more. It did many things right and so little wrong. me as an inspiring writer/director, look to this movie for inspiration. Christopher Nolan truly made a film to remember.

Foxhound

Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…

THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand

THE BEVERLY PRIZE SUPER SHORTLIST FINALISED!

Dr Bruce Meyer, a significant Canadian poet and writer, will be the final judge for this year's Beverly Prize For International Writing - the impressive super shortlist of 18 international poets and writers is announced below.
Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).

The rules of the prize stipulate that any author chosen for the shortlist agrees to accept publication with Eyewear if judged to be the final winner; and may not be entered into other competitions at this final stage of adjudication.
Bruce Meyer is author of more than 60 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portraiture. He was winner of the Gwendolyn…