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DVD Special Features:
Original theatrical trailer
IFC interview with writer/director Christopher Nolan
Director and cast biographies
Memento Mori by Jonathan Nolan
Special hidden feature: The Beginning of the End
Language: English, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English for the hard of hearing
2.35:1 widescreen 16:9 version
An absolute stunner of a movie, Memento combines a bold, mind-bending script with compelling action and virtuoso performances. Guy Pearce plays Leonard Shelby, hunting down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The problem is that "the incident" that robbed Leonard of his wife also stole his ability to make new memories. Unable to retain a location, a face, or a new clue on his own, Leonard continues his search with the help of notes, Polaroids, and even homemade tattoos for vital information. Because of his condition, Leonard essentially lives his life in short, present-tense segments, with no clear idea of what's just happened to him. That's where Memento gets really interesting; the story begins at the end, and the movie jumps backward in 10-minute segments. The suspense of the movie lies not in discovering what happens, but in finding out why it happened. Amazingly, the movie achieves edge-of-your-seat excitement even as it moves backward in time! , and it keeps the mind hopping as cause and effect are pieced together.
Pearce captures Leonard perfectly, conveying both the tragic romance of his quest and his wry humour in dealing with his condition. He is bolstered by several excellent supporting players including Carrie-Anne Moss, and the movie is all but stolen by Moss' fellow Matrix co-star Joe Pantoliano, who delivers an amazing performance as Teddy, the guy who may or may not be on his side. Memento has an intriguing structure and even meditations on the nature of perception and meaning of life if you go looking for them, but it also functions just as well as a completely absorbing thriller. It's rare to find a movie this exciting with so much intelligence behind it. --Ali Davis, Amazon.com
On the DVD: this amazing movie looks crisp and clean in a good anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) picture accompanied by Dolby 5.1 sound. The menu is almost as baffling as the movie itself, but once you master the navigation you'll find interviews, biographies, a tattoo picture gallery and the shooting script among other extras. Most mind-boggling of all, however, is the "Memento Mori" option in the special features menu, which allows you to play a specially re-edited version of the movie in chronological order, beginning with the end credits running backwards! --Mark WalkerSee all Product description
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The story is told in reverse, via flashbacks, from the viewpoint of a man who's memory only lasts 24 hours, and who has to write notes to himself to remind him where he has been and what he has learned. I won't spoil the plot, but merely knowing this premise gives you a good idea of just how fascinating this movie is.
In terms of the storyline itself, Christopher has a rich vein of concepts to work with here: the unreliability of memory; our subjective experience and how it creates our persona. In the process it poses some interesting existential questions, suggesting that in searching for a sense of purpose we all, in some way, create and live a lie of our own invention, to justify our existence and whitewash our crimes and misdemeanors.
However, given that this is also a revenge movie, this is also an edge of the seat thriller, with a unique suspense (how will he remember the next 24 hours?), and a genuinely innovative twisting plot unlike any other I've seen since that landmark British thriller from 1945, "Dead of Night". It is also somewhat reminiscent of one of my favourite authors, Christopher Priest (his novel "The Affirmation" springs to mind here), whom Nolan has since either adapted directly ("The Prestige") or taken inspiration from ("Inception" draws heavily on Priest's "A Dream of Wessex"). But in terms of crafting a good thriller, Nolan clearly has the capability to be the director that M. Night Shymalan can only dream of aspiring to.
The production values too are strong, with excellent photography and editing, and a strong cast including then-Matrix stars, Joey Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss. Supporting cast members are all strong and turn in first class performances, but unfortunately this only serves to highlight how lightweight Guy Pearce is as an actor. Sure, his performance is adequate, and in some ways his somewhat vacuous character rendition sits well with a character who wakes up every morning a veritable "blank page". However, there's a missed opportunity, as Guy seems more of a blank canvas for the plot, rather than a man tortured by his loss. I do wonder if Guy's appearance is one of the few concessions Nolan made to commercialism. That said, his performance is inoffensive, if not exactly inspiring.
Later Nolan films of course showcase his talents more comprehensively and indeed, it is the subtlety of his work in other movies (his sublime subversion of the Batman franchise; the homage to Kubrick's "2001" that finds a central place for love as a fifth fundamental force) which impresses. But this movie not only is a tour de force of his talent, but also bears repeated viewing, if only to untangle the plot twists. An outstanding movie that only just falls short of a perfect 5 stars, mainly for Guy's bland acting.
PS. I recommend not seeking out the version of the film that plays in chronological order - it is hugely detrimental to the film and will spoil the experience.
I am deliberately not telling much of the story here it really should be seen without prior knowledge for best effect. Suffice to say the film plays backwards in snapshots of time and is the story of a man (leonard) who can not make new memories. It is filmed from Leonards viewpoint I can only say go get a copy and enjoy.
Nothing is certain, nothing is clear. It is a highly entertaining brain teaser that will have you thinking and talking about the film long after the normal mementos (pun intended) of an excellent film have left your head.
The story is of a young man working for an insurance agency, who awakes one night to find his wife being murdered in the bathroom by two masked killers. Tyring to save her he suffers a blow to the head which results in damage to his memory. He remembers his past life up to that point, but is completely unable to make any new memories for more than a few minutes. To compensate for this, he takes Polaroid photographs all the time, and tatoos his body with information.
A guy going by the name of Teddy, whose real name is John Edward Gammell, a secret police investigator, Played by Joe Pantoliano, is revealed as being one of the murderers, and there is a possible connection with drug related enquiries. He appears to be helping Leonard with his quest to unravell the mystery of his wife's death up to this point.
A barmaid, Natalie, (Carrie-Ann Moss) who plays tricks on Leonard all the time, tries to incite him to kill someone she is involved with, named Dodd.
Writer and Director Christopher Nolan, adapting from a story by his brother Johnathan, aimed very successfully to create a film in which details are fragmented to give the viewer the same experience as a sufferer of short term memory loss.
In the amazing special features section of this disc the plot and background information are presented as on a Crime Report website. Through Interactive menues the Interviews, Biographies and Photo Galleries, are a voyage of discovery.
This film is an intense thought provoking experience, a gripping classic.