Memento

Like most people our age, we have a copy of Memento in our DVD collection, and the cover of that copy declares itself a “masterpiece.” While I’m not entirely sure I agree, it IS an achievement and for many of us, a turning point in movies. It may have been the first Christopher Nolan you saw, but I doubt it was your last.

guypearceIt’s the story of a man looking for his family, like Finding Dory only more murdery. Okay, it’s nothing like Finding Dory, but Leonard (Guy Pearce) genuinely can’t form new memories, and he’s not so much looking for his wife as looking for her murderer. The story is ingeniously (and frustratingly) told frontwards AND backwards, colour sequences alternating with black and white, creating a disorienting narrative that mimics the character’s confusion. The two story lines eventually meet, but this technique manages to build both momentum and tension in ways we hadn’t experienced in a good long while.

Leonard uses tattoos and polaroids in place of memories but it’s not a perfect system as pictures can lie, and both are corruptible. The movie winds up being as much a trip for us as it is for him, and Memento spawned a lot of copycat movies and a new “mindfuck” genre.

It absolutely demands to be rewatched and nearly every time you do you find some new detail that requires much discussion over pie. You’re no film snobuntitled.png and certainly no Asshole if you don’t obsess over this movie at least semi-regularly.

Lucky for you, Toronto, there’s an exclusive screening in 35mmfor TIFF and ROM members at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this Sunday July 10 2016 at 1pm as part of the Royal Ontario Museum’s current exhibition, Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art. All proceeds from this event will support TIFF’s film preservation and projection efforts, including the ongoing presentation of 35mm films.

 

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35 thoughts on “Memento

  1. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    Dave and I got a call from a relative in Victoria at 3 in the morning, demanding that we see “Memento’ right away and call them back.

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  2. Sean

    I love this movie. It is so well done. As you said, even when you know the twist, it’s still fascinating to see it play out. M. Night Shayamalan should have taken notes.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Well at least you’re onboard now, and yes, it really does need to be seen more than once to really be appreciated.

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  3. Birgit

    This is a film that I loved when it came out and I have not seen it since and also need to change that. It was so unique, well acted and mind bending to say the least but done intelligently.

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  4. J.

    One of my favourite movies and one I spent a whole lot of time talking folks into seeing. Then a whole lot of hours chatting about. I feel myself becoming all obsessive again …

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    1. Jay Post author

      It’s easy to fall back into it…and I’m realizing there’s a whole generation who haven’t even seen it yet because it’s old to them!

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  5. reocochran

    I really loved this movie, have seen it more than twice! Thanks for giving an homage to one of the best of its kind. Also, clever to mention Dory, too.
    I have fears of amnesia, you guys. I also, as I get older, fear my Mom’s form of dementia, which is mainly a two minute memory of current situations, but long term memory much better of music, art, ability to recite lengthy poems like the Longfellow Light Brigade one. I try to hang on to my marbles and include protein in my diet. Mom rarely ate protein which feeds the brain. (It can be vegetables like legumes and nuts.)

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  6. Christopher

    I remember when a friend described the plot to me–thankfully without any spoilers–and I thought, well that sounds confusing as hell and completely unwatchable.
    And of course it wasn’t which is what I think makes it so rewarding. Some movies have such insane plot twists I never want to watch them again but Memento holds up because the story is so well told and the characters are so interesting.

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  7. thelonelyauthorblog

    Memento is a brilliant movie. I had two watch it twice the first time I saw it. Guy Pearce does a masterful job. And Mr. Nolan did an amazing job as well. This movie showed the promise of the kind of director he was to become.

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  8. Lloyd Marken

    Roger Ebert referred to the twist as the Keyser Soze syndrome. Memento, Arlington Road, Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable all suffered from it and most of them were pretty good. Whatever ones were there?

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  9. Pingback: The Prestige | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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