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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2005
Here it is. The cleverest film this century has to offer so far, has made it's way onto Special Edition DVD. Though the movie itself is worth five stars alone, I found that the special features surprisingly let it down.
Written and directed by the critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan (The Following, Batman Begins), while including talent such as Guy Pearce and Joe Pantoliano, this is by far the most inventive film in years. Starting with a horrific yet beautiful scene where Leonard (Pearce) kills a man in cold blood, the film begins to track events that took place before the incident. We soon discover that his actions were fuelled by the revenge for his dead wife, while a rare disorder means he is unable to keep new memories. Nolan manages to put us in Leonard's shoes by shuffling the scenes in reverse order, meaning that we too are unaware of the previous events that took place. To remind himself where he is, and what he is doing, Leonard constantly makes notes so he can carry on tracking down his wife's killer. The film quickly becomes sort of a 'why dunnit' than a 'who dunnit' by effectively taking us back through time to the story's origin. Even while having Leonard's various messages to work from, the film still manages to pull off a few suprises, ending with a truly unexpected final twist.
Apart from the addition of the director's commentary, I was actually quite disappointed with the special features in this edition. Don't be fooled by the idea that the extra two discs are full of new goodies. Because to be honest... they're not. There's about one or two more documentaries than the original edition, and an additional option where you can view the screenplay while watching the film, (very useful for budding filmmakers!). But this is hardly enough extras to fill TWO WHOLE DISKS! Considering only big-budget epics (such as 'Lord of the Rings') have enough extra features to manage this. However you may enjoy the hidden 'Easter Egg' where you can view the whole film in chronological order. Even though this feature was also included in previous editions.
I very much recommend you getting this if you haven't already. If you already own an older version however, I would advise you not to bother buying the Special Edition just for one or two extra features.
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on 21 May 2002
There's not much to add to what's already been said about this truly excellent movie. It works because of the way it's made - the trick of telling the story in reverse puts you right inside the head of Leonard and leaves you as confused as he is. My only gripe about this DVD is the thing most other people seem to like - namely the hidden feature which plays the scenes in forward order. I'd seen the film 5 times before I watched this 'forward' version and each viewing was a splendidly confusing experience; the film made more and more sense every time - each viewing held new revelations. Now, having watched it 'forwards' and having had my deductions confirmed, I've rather lost the will to watch the 'normal' film again which I think is a great shame.
So, buy the disc, watch the film again and again, but only watch the 'forwards' version if you're totally confused.
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on 13 December 2006
If you're looking for something intense, suspenseful, and different than your usual effects-packed thriller, this is the best movie you will see in a long time.

The movie starts with a murder -- a revenge killing, in fact. But was the right person killed?

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man with no short-term memory. He hasn't been able to form new memories since the night his wife was murdered. Now he's on a hunt to find the murderer but with no way of remembering names, dates, places, facts and faces. I am not going to say more not to spoil the numerous surprises. Trust me though, it's really great!

Don't worry about trying to empathize with Leonard because Writer/Director Christopher Nolan puts you right in Leonard's shoes. You live the story in reverse order so that you never know more than Leonard does. In one scene you see Leonard getting information from a person who knows him -- maybe a good person; maybe bad. In the next scene you see a previous meeting between the two which sheds more light on their relationship. Later still you see how they met. But is that all of the story? You've yet to find out... and you won't know everything until the last scene. By living it backwards, you, like Leonard, have no knowledge of what came before.

It's brilliant story telling. But you might get frustrated because you don't know what's going on. In fact, that's the whole idea. Just sit back, try to relax (though that's difficult in this movie), and find out just how twisted and complex Leonard's world is.

This film will leave its own memento on your mind, and you'll have a hard time forgetting how much you enjoyed it. At least, that worked for me!
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on 13 January 2005
Christopher Nolan's 'Memento' is an unusual, extremely innovative and most importantly brilliant piece of filmmaking. Guy Pearce plays Leonard Shelby, a man left incapable of forming new memories due to brain damage suffered following an attack in his home. The attack also left his wife 'dead' and this inspires Leonards motivation to live - to hunt down and kill the people responsible.
Because of Leonards condition, he is forced to make notes throughout his investigation in the form of tatoos, journal entries and notes on the back of photographs. As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that Leonard is facing a uphill battle to acheive his goals and is an easy target for those who wish to manipulate him.
The supporting cast are also excellent - Carrie Ann Moss as Natalie, a female Leonard befriends and Joe Pantoliano as Leonards friend Teddy. For many, it may not be a particularly easy movie to view due to the order that events are sequenced in the film - Leonards phone conversation is placed in between the scenes of the film which run in reverse. However, a feature on the dvd is a special edit of the film which runs in chronological order.
One of the most original and best films of the decade so far which gets better with repeated viewing (the ending will definitely leave you thinking). Memorable and highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2007
I'm not sure if the previous reviewer was watching the same film as the rest of us as I (and most people) think it is brilliant.

The pivot of greatness that this film rests upon, and it's unique selling point, is the way the film flows. Yes it plays "backwards" but it's so much more than that. Each scene plays for about 5-10 minutes before cutting to the next scene, which again, lasts for around 5-10 minutes, but it ends exactly at the start of the previous scene! (Hope you're with me!). This is done in such a clever way and always keeps you guessing, even know you know the eventual outcome!

Not only this, but there are black & white "flashback" narrative scenes throughout the film which actually play in the correct sequence! The way these two styles blend together is truly astonishing. By the end of the film, I too wanted to see it again! Not only is the story/plot itself good, but it's the way it's presented that really gives this film the wow factor.

Give this film a go, you won't see another film like it for a while!
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on 2 January 2002
This is not just a film to be watched but experienced. The premise is superb; the plot twists back and around on itself, each scene making you question what you have seen before. From the end at the beginning to the opening climax (you'll understand when you watch), the film is superb as you join Leonard in his quest to find the truth.
And a hint - I'd strongly recommend the DVD version so you can rearrange the scenes into a more logical order - this might spoil the 'flow' of the disjointed scenes, but it clears up an awful lot of confusion.
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on 24 March 2010
Leonard (Pearce) suffers from a condition where he can't make new memories and with the help of photographs, tries to recreate the memory of his wife's murderer.

After short UK hit Following, Christopher Nolan broke minds with his first major worldwide smash revolving around Guy Pearce's determined investigator and with a backwards storytelling motive and star studded performance, the director had rightfully cemented himself onto the big stage.

Opening with a glorious POV of a man holding a photograph of a murdered victim we are enticed into a completely unique psychological thriller revolving ideologies of misguided friendship, paranoia and vengeance that in eventuality is a complete mind warp of a crime thriller.

The ideology of backwards story telling allows the British director to engage audiences through numerous possibilities of solutions and explanations. For example as we start to realise which character is which and how their current presence affects Leonard, we realise the deadly truth of what is really happening.

Now I have never watched Gosford Park, but how can memento lose in the Oscar writing category to a period drama? Naivety is a quality I possess but a story told backwards with a revolution surrounding a short term memory condition and corrupting it with a fast flowing clue dropping narrative? Well, whatever the awards shelf has, this is by far one of the best plot devices ever devised.

Guy Pearce is strong enough to dive deep into his character's mental agony and carries the film's muddled plot on his shoulders, given the character a sharp and jittery edge that was necessary to generate the harsh nature of the mental handicap. Carrie-Anne Moss shines through a multi persona that gives off a great twist. Joe Pantoliano always seems to have a knowledge of access into great films with small roles. The Matrix, Risky Business, The Goonies and The Fugitive and his sharp voice cascades here to with his perfectly portrayed figure of either good or bad in the film's context that has many twists and turns and together with Pearce and Moss, reinstalls a feeling of corruption amongst friends and anonymous faces.

Filming in black and white for the flashback sequences are a stroke of genius as the mood and tone feel appropriate to distinguish how Leonard is dealing with the past and his current state of mind, particularly when on the phone.

Nolan appropriately uses a feeling of isolation and drama to gain a vibe of paranoia and clue dropping simulation to gain the ultimate film watching experience, collecting fast paced action sequences with dramatic implications that would also appear in his later films and thanks to his brother's terrific novel, makes one of the finest crime thrillers you will ever see, a true marvel.

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on 28 April 2006
Amongst cinema fans Memento has been seen as a true classic and rated very highly. The film has had almost a cult following and its complex, and twisting plot with hints of information rather than the full story ideally lend it to such a following. Much has been made of the way the film is told backwards, but its more complex that this. There is a narrative that is told in reverse - but at the same time another narrative that runs forward, and in the last scene of the film the two combine.

Given its complexities and the chronology of events Memento is a film that has to be seen more than once. Thus it a perfect DVD purchase. This special edition comes on three disks with lots of extra featuers, of which my favourite was the 'Anatomy of a Scene'. This documentary takes you behind the scenes with detailed information that take your enjoyment of the film to another level.

Overall this is one of the best DVD special edition releases you could by. Highly recommended to everyone and a must for the memento fan.
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on 17 December 2010
I am a psychology teacher and can no longer teach memory without this movie. It gets all students facinated in the subject. I love looking for the subliminal messages and hidden clues I spot something new every time. I agree with the comments above about the easter egg don't watch it. I have watched this with classes 30 plus times and never tire of it but if i could see it in order the beauty of the film would die for me.

This is a cult film for a reason it is genius I love it!
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It's not until a film like Memento comes along, or that you personally have to deal with someone close who suffers a form of this subject to hand, that you get jolted to remember just how your memory is such a prized and treasured thing - and crucially that it's one of your key safety devices.

Christopher and Jonathan Nolan crafted one of the best films of 2000 based on those facets of the human condition. Their protagonist is Leonard Shelby, played with stupendous believability by Guy Pearce, who is suffering from a memory amnesia caused by a trauma to the head as he tried to aide his wife who was raped and murdered. He can remember things before the incident, but anything post that and he can't form a memory. So who can he trust? Does he know any of the few people who appear to be in his life at the present time? He tattoos his body to help him remember, constantly writes notes to keep him alert in his now alien world, while all the time he is on the search for the man who ruined his life.

Christopher Nolan plants the audience right into Leonard's world. By using a reverse story telling structure it's deliberately complex and ingenious given that it opens with the ending! It has been argued that it's trickery for trickery sake, style over substance, but the way each scene is built upon in the narrative is a thing of high quality, it's all relevant and demands the closest of attention from the viewer, where cheekily we are ourselves asked to form memories of prior narrative passages. Mystery is strong throughout, the characters currently in Leonard's life may have different means and motives, it keeps us alert, with the confusion, lies, manipulations, enigmas and amnesia angles booming with neo-noir vibrancy. And the Nolan's know their noir of course, adding a narrator who is hard to define or trust himself!

The reverse structure wasn't new in 2000, but Christopher Nolan picks up the idea and adds new strands to it, simultaneously bringing his visual ticks as David Julyan's musical score shifts from elegiac forebodings to pulse pounding dread, and as evidenced by the darling easter egg option that allows one to watch it in chronological order, it's a damn fine thriller without the reverse trickery anyway. Super. 9/10
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