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Review: Memento 113

Talk about an interactive movie! Christopher Nolan's Memento is the most inventive movie in eons, not as graceful as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but even more intriguing. Memento starts messing with your head from the opening shot, and since you don't dare stop paying attention for even a second, the film pulls you along in a way that's both rare and exciting. Spoilage warning: plot is talked about, but no endings are given away. (Read more.)

Guy Pearce (the uptight ass-kisser in L.A. Confidential ) plays Leonard, a young, guilt-ridden insurance investigator. He's pursuing his the man who raped and murdered his wife, but he has a bizarre inability to form new memories; if he happens upon an important clue, then orders a sandwich or walks around the block, he won't remember what he learned. He calls it a short-term memory disorder. So he frantically tattoos himself with clues, reminders and warnings and scribbles notes on hurriedly-shot Polaroids so he can identify people he already knew, and remember details he's already discovered.

Lenny's life is further complicated by a couple of people who appear to be friends (Joe Pantoliano, now playing the evil Ralphie on The Sopranos, and Carrie-Anne Moss) but who it gradually becomes clear might (or might not) be manipulating Leonard for their own murky reasons.

Leonard, anxious, even desperate, lives in a continuous fight with the outside world, constantly trying to orient himself and make snap judgements about his evolving reality. He is particularly haunted by his callous handling of an insurance claimant who suffered from the same memory disorder. Through Leonard's guile, his company refused the man's genuine claim for compensation. His tattoos and pictures remind of him of what he has done, and help him keep track -- he thinks -- of his wife's killer. He is continually forgetting his interactions with other people, remembering and re-remembering.

Nolan makes things considerably more challenging by running most of the story backwards, so the audience is essentially faced with the same problem Leonard has -- struggling to stay oriented, keep up, check his pictures and notes, and figure out what information is real. His mind replays people,words, memories and clues over and over again, a kind of thinking reflected in the fractured structure of the movie itself. This is an amazing editing and writing feat, weakened only by a mildly cheesy, anti-climactic ending. And the film noir feeling is enhanced by the seedy L.A. neighborhoods and motels the story runs through.

This movie demands a lot of its viewers. Leonard lives in a dizzy, whirling present tense, even as he is constantly in need of repetition, reinforcement and reference.

Memento is like a nightmare from which Leonard and the audience can't awaken. Soon enough, we realize that nothing can be assumed to be as it appears. Leonard is like a fly stuck in flypaper. As much as he struggles, he can't break free. The effect is riveting, Leonard's predicament genuinely frightening. You leave the theater trying hurriedly, along with everyone else, to patch together clues, portents and explanations before you forget them -- just like Leonard. Plan to see this movie at least twice to grasp what you missed the first time.

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Review: Memento

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  • by pb ( 1020 )
    What, so now I should pay Katz?

    I'm sorry, but after Columbine, I don't think I could afford it. :)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • There's a fine line between "think" and "intentionally confuse".

    If Hollywood wanted to make me think, they could give me a traditional mystery, with some complex characters and interaction.

    If they wanted to, instead, intentionally confuse me, they could run the whole thing backwards.

    It sounds like they tried to do both, and put it in a blender for a while. And I'm not sure if I like that yet.

    And I have no idea where you get off with the "politically correct" "Steven Seagal movie" bit, but I'm curious. :)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    What a great idea: harrass the audience by not telling them the story in a straightforward manner.

    So... if we don't understand it all, can we pay half-price?

    Similarly, I'm glad I read your content for free, Katz!
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • Yea, you're right. I was, of course, writing a reply to a slashdot review of a movie by Katz, instead of going to see the movie in question.

    However, no movie theaters in my area seem to be showing the movie in question, so it seems that it would be unlikely for me to have seen it. I could similarly harangue you to "check the listings in my area before you post a useless reply", but that would be equally pointless.

    However, if you think it was a good mystery, then maybe I'll rent it sometime, or even see it in the theater if it catches on the way CTHD did...
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • I haven't seen this movie; first heard of it from an NPR interview with the director. As I heard him talking about a character with no short term memory, I thought "Cool, this must be Tom Tykwer [tykwer-online.de], the director of Run Lola Run and Winter Sleepers" (since Winter Sleepers is all about a character having no long term memory.

    Winter Sleepers was just recently released in the US, but I think it was actually filmed before Run Lola Run.

    I'll have to see Memento and see how it compares. Those of you who've seen Memento ought to check out Winter Sleepers. Like Run Lola Run, it's a top-notch film.

  • I think it depends.

    Are you referring to the ending that happened at the end of the movie, or the ending that happened at the begining? :)
  • I can honestly say that this was the best movie I've ever seen. Jon thinks that the ending was anti-climactic and cheesy, but in fact it was a daring twist on Leonard's relationships with everyone in the film. You think you know who everyone is, but then every 20 minutes you have to look back and think "now why did he do this, really?" For the past two weeks, I've been thinking about the movie and how complex and profession it was. I tell strangers to see this movie. See this movie.
  • Odd. Here in Paris I saw it quite a while ago at a major cinema hall. It is still running at some smaller places.

    Definitely worth seeing. And probably Katz was hoping for a more guessable ending, or a so-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after thing.

    Keep in mind that the ending of the movie is really the beginning of the story: the movie goes backward in time so you have to figure out how it all began chronologically. The ending is hard to guess, and makes perfect sense.

  • This being the first I had heard of this film, I was intrigued by Katz's review, so I went to search Yahoo [yahoo.com] to find out when it was playing. I figured that if Carrie-Anne Moss was in it, the film couldn't be too obscure.

    Not a single one of the nearby multiplexes is running it. WTF? A more extensive search revealed that it is in fact playing the art house downtown, as well as one in one of the smaller theatres in an adjacent suburb.

    <rampant over-zealous conspiracy theory>
    Could this be yet another attempt by the corporate power elite to keep the really good stuff away from the American masses? Every other review I looked at said it was great, yet they seem to be intent on hiding it away. Oh well. I guess I should have expected such.
    </rampant over-zealous conspiracy theory>

    Personally, I think I'll make the drive out to watch it.

  • The director -- citing the Blair Witch Hype..said he didn't want a traditional marketing campaign with the websites, etc...

  • I don't know. One, I think people are tired of Hollywood formulas.
    Two, I think it made clear that the marial arts stuff..the Matrix did this too ..is deeper than just action/adventure..it had a creative and soulful quality to it..But I suspect it has been overhyped, mostly in contrast to the usual sludge they crank out..

  • to even say what the ending was..I had my squawks with it, but I too thought it was a brilliant movie..But not a perfect one..

  • Does this game move back and forth in reality?

  • ...to go see this movie is with a group of friends..you will be arguing about it for hours.

  • I hate it when your blocking software doesn't it work? You can also get Cyberpatrol..I'm blocked there as well..(CyberNanny too)

  • ..is one of the great movies I've ever seen..I actually didn't mention it deliberately, as I don't think it compares as well to that movie..specially the ending. Now that was an ending, when you scan the posters behind the desk?

  • IMDB hasn't asked me (Slashdot has) and I do think it's a geek culture movie, even more so than the Matrix, actually...You obviously haven't seen it..

  • ..definitely would kick the pants off of me..whew..
  • A bunch of people have e-mailed me about whether the Usual Suspects was better than Momento..The two are among the best movies I've seen in years, but I guess I'd go with US..Be interested in other opinions tho...

  • More e-mail about whether the Matrix or Momento relate more to geek culture..I vote for Momento actually on that score..
  • The main inspiration the writer used was the fact that he was mugged. That instant feeling of hate, anger, and fear he felt those first 15 minutes. He said he wondered what if... what if that feeling never went away. What if that was your motivation to find the perp...

    Ive also heard that at film festivals (this movie has been finished and played overseas for almost a year) that many major studios went up to the actors and told them what a brilliant film it was. When asked if they would pick it up for American distribution, the comments always went along the line of "This movie is too complex for the American audience". Guess these are the same guys who told Soderberg that noone would go see Traffic.

    And for a shameless plug to the trailer I did, find it here [apple.com]. You'll need QuickTime, and yes, I am a company man.

  • Of course, it will make a lot more sense if you are familar all things Shuttlecocky and especially SMC's inimitable style.

    It's one of SMC's better works and kicks the pants off of anything Katz has ever done

    Do you self a favor: hop on over to The Brunching Shuttlecocks [brunching.com] and visit the Self-Made Critics review [brunching.com] of Memento.

  • technology geek culture

    Why do you think that is the only subspecies of Homo Geekus the site targets?

  • So, what you're saying is someone made a hipper version of the bomb Clean Slate [imdb.com]? What's the big deal?
  • If Hollywood wanted to make me think, they could give me a traditional mystery, with some complex characters and interaction.
    If they wanted to, instead, intentionally confuse me, they could run the whole thing backwards.
    It sounds like they tried to do both, and put it in a blender for a while. And I'm not sure if I like that yet.

    Of course, you might want to see the movie before determining whether or not you like what they've done.

    I went to it expecting to see an exercise in style, but it just wound up being a well-made mystery that used a strange narrative form (imho) perfectly.

    Also, there's nothing excessively confusing about this movie. Like any mystery, it offers pieces and clues that one must eventually piece together to figure out what's going on. There's a lot going on, a lot of questions pop up, the viewer must try to figure out what all is going on, much like any good mystery. However, I wasn't overwhelmed by them. There's never too much going on for the viewer to comprehend. Sure, as scenes open, you don't know how the character got there or what's happening, and it fits, because neither does the character. But, the questions of the immediate situation are answered in the next scene, and other questions are answered as the film progresses.

    Sure, i went expecting a novelty film all about the device of the narrative form, but as it turned out, it's also a well written, well executed mystery that handles the device quite suitably, and there's some superb performances in there to boot. It's no more rational to criticize a movie you've not seen solely on the basis of the narrative device than it is to praise any film with a gimmick. I realize it's an elusive concept here, but see the damn movie before you criticize it

  • This will sound like flamebait, but why are people so obsessed with HDCT? It's a good movie, but it's not the martial arts movie to end all movies.

    I walked out of the theatre with the impression that I'd seen the best martial arts movie ever. I must have been toning down my expectations by virtue of seeing it in a chain cineplex, because about a week later I decided to watch my Fong Sai Yuk and Fong Sai Yuk II DVDs, and was reminded that there's a lot out there that kicks CTHD's pants.

    Incidentally, if you haven't seen Legend of Fong Sai Yuk, see it. As soon as humanly possible. CTHD's a remarkably good movie, yes. But Fong Sai Yuk's utterly freakin' brilliant.

    Of course, this is just one man's opinion. It's just that this opinion happens to be absolutely accurate.

  • However, no movie theaters in my area seem to be showing the movie in question, so it seems that it would be unlikely for me to have seen it. I could similarly harangue you to "check the listings in my area before you post a useless reply", but that would be equally pointless.

    Trouble is, this movie hasn't had a release so much as it's been on tour. This is because it's allegedly being distributed by the filmmaker and not a distribution company... at least right now anyway. In all likelihood, the buzz surrounding this film'll insure it a proper distribution sometime this summer.

  • Could this be yet another attempt by the corporate power elite to keep the really good stuff away from the American masses?

    No, it's probably more a case of the studio thinking it's not likely to make money (after all it might confuse the poor audience), so they're giving it limited release to see whether it will take off or not. My wife went to see it Friday when it opened in Chicago, and she loved it. I'd say make the drive, 'cos you may not get an opportunity to see it nearby in a theater.

  • interestingly try http://otnemem.com/ [otnemem.com]
  • by rvr ( 15565 ) on Sunday April 15, 2001 @07:36AM (#290512) Homepage
    here [rottentomatoes.com]
  • Well, I just got back from seeing it 5 minutes ago and while it isn't your typical hollywood shoot em up cliche flick it is pretty mindless...just in a different way. You'll know what I mean when you see it. Not a terribly inspirational or even thought-provoking film, but it stands out from the drivel nonetheless.
  • It has been touring the film festivals art houses and is finally starting to get attention. Maybe it will finally get wide release. I haven't seen it yet but I am going to see it today at the local (Chicago) art house theatre.

  • by Silmaril ( 19015 ) on Sunday April 15, 2001 @08:15AM (#290515)

    Here's the original short story [esquire.com] that inspired the movie, by Jonathan Nolan. It's very different from the movie and in some ways it's better. Read it if you get the chance - it gives away nothing about the movie that you couldn't deduce from the Memento trailer [movie-list.com].

    The second time I saw Memento, I brought a pad of paper and took copious notes. Here are the results: a chronological list of Memento scenes [joshpurinton.com]. Warning: SPOILERS there.


  • The ending is non-hollywood. There's no happy end, in fact it is quite open ended. That's what makes it a nice movie. You leave the cinema not sure what to think. What was true what was illusion. Who's manipulating who. What bothers me in Hollywood movies is that there's always a happy/closed ending. Bad guy dies, hero walks away. In this movie (::::spoiler warning::::) it is just the other way around (but you can't be sure really).

    The memory loss the guy seems to suffer from really exists, by the way. I saw a tv interview once with a guy who had suffered a stroke and was no longer able to store new memories. He sounded pretty normal until he started to ask what year it was (he was vaguely aware that something was wrong with his memory). Also he was surprised to hear that the cold war was over (he had his stroke somewhere in the eighties). After a few minutes the purpose of the interview had to be explained to him again (all in one shot) and the interviewer had to reintroduce himself. Very scary desease.
  • I disagree. I actually enjoyed the movie a lot on an intellectual level, but in the end, there's a big difference between keeping something deliberately vague to make the audience come to their own conclusions, and not communicating the storyline clearly. I recently got the new Criterion release of Do The Right Thing, and with all the yelling and panic that surrounded that film on it's release, it was a clear example of the former. What was "the Right Thing"? Smashing the window? Racial tolerance? Fight the Power? That was something that Lee let *you* decide, but absolutely no-one can say they came out of the theatre wondering exactly happened in the movie. Lee crafted a great film, and got the audience to think.
    In Memento, I swear that over half the (packed) audience was non-stop asking each other questions for blocks after we left, and those questions weren't "what is reality?" or "how do we perceive time?", it was "I don't get it - did xxxx really happen and did yyyy know zzzz?" That's supposed to be the director's job - communicate the story. While I very much enjoyed trying to untangle it, I feel that in 10 years people will look back on it as a film school experiment. A very well done experiment, make no mistake, but an experiment.
    I'd still watch it over a Segal movie, though. :)

  • That quite frankly couldn't have been much more annoying. I wouldn't follow the link if I were you.


  • Don't listen to Jon, the ending is fine, the movie is great, and I'm pissed at the studios for NOT releasing this amazing movie to a wider audience!!
  • Seeing as how this is one of my favorite movies of all time, I'm a bit biased - but if the general public had a clue how brilliant this film is consider the ramifications! What if another Godzilla (the matt broderick one) were to happen!? With such an enlightened audience it wouldn't make a dime! Can't let that happen - no, no.
  • I asked myself: "I wonder how many sentences it will take before he uses the word interactive?" Congrats, Jon: it's a new record!

  • I thought the ending was brilliant. Just when I thought the movie couldn't get better, the ending neatly tied the whole thing together.

    Did you even watch this movie?? The ending is carefully designed to tie together nothing at all. Instead it asks, "how do you know what you know? Can you completely trust anything?"

    There are a number of possible "truths" to explain this story. You probably just chose to believe in the most plesant one.

  • ... are belong to us!!

    http://www.amiallyourbaseornot.com/?pic=DBFF [amiallyourbaseornot.com].

    Sorry :)
  • The first 8 minutes of the movie can be streamed in Real Player or Windows Media Player from
    http://www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0 ,1263,958510,00.html [ifilm.com].

    The official site of the movie is at www.otnemem.com [otnemem.com] (nice touch). It has some details which are probably better learned after watching the movie rather than before.

    The IMDb message boards for Memento [imdb.com] have a lot of discussion (SPOILER alert!!) about the possible plotlines. Reading the posts here after watching the movie the first time was quite enlightening ...

  • If anyone knows if/when this movie is coming to minnesota, please let me know. Thank you. I have looked all over and i can't find it playing here.
    ...and I'm not sure we should trust this Kyle Sagan either.
  • Well, if it sounds too challenging for ya, go see Shrek.

    Good old USA:"Please don't offer me any challenging entertainment, then I might have to think outside my little suburban box. Three's Company & Alladin are all I need."

    I am so sick and tired of the pablum Hollywood foists on us. There's certainly a place in the world for mindless entertainment, but could Hollywood offer a variety of levels of intellectual engagement?

    And for Pete's sake, no more remakes of old movies, live action cartoons, or comic book movies!

    If we want to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or La Femme Nikita, we can watch the originals (with subtitles preferably/if necessary). If we want to see Josie & the Pussycats, we can turn on the Cartoon Network and watch the cartoon. And if we want to enjoy the X-Men, we can read the comics. Even adaptations of books are redundant, we can read the damn books. If people are too lazy, illiterate, or too pressed for time to read the book, then too bad, they should miss out on that particular story.

    How about some original content? There must be thousands of original screenplays languishing on peoples' hard drives out there.
  • Heheh, good point.

    I was talking about the ending at the end, where you find out who has really been jerking him around.
    Patrick Doyle
  • Overdose of insulin + husband's fingerprints on syringes = duh.
    Patrick Doyle
  • The human brain is not a computer that follows simple rules. Maybe, a big enough trauma, like accidentally killing your wife, might just stick.
    Patrick Doyle
  • I thought the ending was brilliant. Just when I thought the movie couldn't get better, the ending neatly tied the whole thing together.

    I can't bring myself to say what the ending was, even with a spoiler alert, because I don't want to ruin it for anyone. Let's just say I'll definitely be seeing this movie again soon.
    Patrick Doyle
  • DO NOT READ THIS if you haven't seen the movie.

    What I mean is that the movie revolves around the question of who is reliable and who is messing with Leonard, and the ending--that Leonard had been messing with himself the whole time--was really the ultimate answer to that question.

    The movie was just a succession of "wow, that explains it" moments, and the final one was more of a "wow, that explains all those explanations". Totally brilliant.

    Patrick Doyle
  • Sorry to reply twice...

    I didn't mean so much that the ending tied the plot together. I meant that it tied the movie together thematically. It was the period at the end of a well-crafted sentence.
    Patrick Doyle
  • How would he even remember to take pictures?
    Oh, come on. Psychological disorders aren't that simple. Perhaps a friend or a doctor tought him to do that until it became a habit. Perhaps it was just logical: every time he woke up and wanted to remember something, he'd say "my, isn't it lucky that I have this Polaroid".
    How and how did he know the story of how that other guy's wife died
    Spoilers here...

    If it really was another guy's wife, then it happened before his memory loss started. If it wasn't, perhaps it was so traumatic that it stuck with him, although he modified the story so he could deal with it.

    I'd like to hear what an actual psychologist says about this. The rest of us, I'm afraid, simply aren't qualified to judge the accuracy of the condition portrayed in the movie.
    Patrick Doyle

  • Well actually the first time he mentioned the insulin thing (the insurance claimee injecting his wife) I was immedately asking and how exactly do you know that? The woman is dead and her husband cant remember a thing. For all you know, she did it to herself. Later when we see him doing it, I'm like uh huh! I knew it, the only way he could know is because he did it, and then immediately made up a way to incorporate this warning into his 'habits' so that he wouldn't do it again. Very well done.
  • I love the movie. Fantastic, but you dont have to play a movie backward to get this effect (although it is definitely an excellent way of doing it). I am reminded of spy movies in particular. You watch a spy flick and you are constantly wondering why someone did something. You have to put aside the things you know and think about the things the characters know. Then as more information is revealed to you, you have to go backwards in your mind and think about what you thought a character's motives were and reassess them.
  • Ask soon as he saw what happened to his wife he wrote it down. Every time he read it he got depressed and hated himself, so one day he figured he'd write it into sammy's story and he made himself read it every day.. but habit != memory so I think you're right. Oh well.
  • The husband used to give his wife her shots on a regular basis. The fingerprints would have been on the syringes anyway. After all, who uses desposible syringes to give themselves insulin?
  • It's not cheesy and it's anti-clmactic. So much happens in the end that I'm wondering if you missed something.
  • As a previous replier indicated, your keen powers of prediction have failed you. Maybe you shouldn't trust your pre-judgements so much.
  • It was out in England AGES ago (pre-Christmas, I think) and got quite a bit of hype and a reasonably wide release.
  • why does slashdot bother to review movies when a link [bigempire.com] from their site leads to a critic who already has reviewed the same film (and BONUS: that person is not Katz)

    JonKatz? Didn't he set up us the bomb?

  • Usual suspects sucked too.

    Sorry but cutting film with scissors does not a mystery make.
  • There is no art of film making. Well there is in the US, but US film history is laughable. North by Northwest? Ewwwww. Hitchcock was an impostor, but only because he thought film making was an art in itself.

    In the US everything begins with a story apparently and then music, acting, props, and all the rest just grow onto the scene like moss.

    Anywhere else you go a film is treated as a combination of equally important arts (literature, opera, music, dance, photography, architecture, etc).

    As for remakes and so on, you can't see what you've never heard of.

    And to get back to the topic. Eraserhead is amazing. Playing scenes backwards? Seems a bit pompous to me.
  • fyi, it is Memento, not Momento. They mean two totally different things.

    Memento: A hint, suggestion, token, or memorial, to awaken memory

    Momento:Spanish for moment--a minute portion of time.

    In response to your question... Well, I haven't seen Memento yet, it hasn't been released in florida (yet). But I have seen Usual Suspects, and liked it quite well. If anyone doubts Benicio Del Torro's acting, they should see him in this movie. Quite a contrast to Traffic or The Way of The Gun.
  • Guy Pearce was interviewed on radio here and he said that the financiers couldn't find a distributor for it, so had to set up their own company to do it. Good on them, they probably made just as much cash on a smaller circuit without Paramount behind them as they would have on a bigger circuit *with* them. And maybe they can stay independent for their next release and pull in even more!

    Incidentally, I haven't seen the disorder discussed yet. It's more than likely anterograde amnesia. Normal "Spelling"* amnesia means you have no long-term memories, usually past a given point - take a handy car accident as plot device here. Anterograde means you can't *form* memories.

    There's a famous sufferer of this disease called simply 'M'** who has to be told what's going on every day. This was a decision made years ago (he may be dead by now, I'm not sure.) He woke up the day after surgery on his kidneys or somesuch and every day's been the same since, vis a vis Groundhog Day.

    The really interesting part is that he learns skills very well. Like they gave him a "rearrange the hoops on the sticks without changing the order" puzzle every day for two weeks, and at the end of it, he could do it in seconds, though every time he swore he'd "never seen a puzzle like this in my life!"

    *As in Aaron

    **Could be 'S', I can't remember:)
  • it was released 3/16 in LA, 3/30 in "select cities".. too bad eugene oregon isn't a select city. i really want to see this movie, but it looks like the closest place is seattle, about 5 hours away
  • This will sound like flamebait, but why are people so obsessed with HDCT? It's a good movie, but it's not the martial arts movie to end all movies.

    The plot is the ancient "You killed my master now I will kill you". The action scenes are pretty standard. They're even a bit tame when you compare them to something like Corey Yuen's Hero.

    So please stop your obsession with a slightly above-average movie.
  • hey slashdot readers - want a movie that challenges the way you think and feel about your life? Watch "Requiem for a Dream" by director Darren Aranofsky.

    Now that's a movie.
  • "Could this be yet another attempt by the corporate power elite to keep the really good stuff away from the American masses? "

    Only if you think that corporations deliberatly sell people what they will buy, rather than what the corporation thinks would be good for the masses. Oh, wait, corporations DO sell what people will buy (as determined by focus groups and targeted marketing).

    Of course, Joe Sixpack (in-bred cousin of Jerry Springer), does tend to have an eclectic taste leaning towards kung-fooey movies (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) and away from anything that makes you think.

  • True, but why should you filter away ASCII art? Isn't this exactly the same as filtering software for the web, which filter on keywords such as "breasts" and "sex", and accidentally filter away supposedly "good" content? And why should anyone determine what's good and bad, I thought the policy was to not censor at all? I think it's quite hypocritical to cry foul when someone wants to censor the web, and then do exactly the same thing here. You can never get rid of this kind of stuff anyway. When moderation was introduced, the only thing that happened was that the sophistication level dropped. So instead of MEEPT we get goatse.cx. Woo, nice job.
  • I just saw this movie last night. Momento is 1)confusing, 2)disturbing, and 3)worth seeing, but only if you're prepared to concentrate hard.

    I went with my parents, and at the end, we had an interesting conversation with this other group
    of people about what had happened and what it all meant. Definitely that kind of movie, and worth
    the 7.50.

    Incidentally, before I went to bed, I was convinced that there would be a Slashdot article about it, and I searched and searched, but to no avail. I guess I'm ahead of the curve this time (albeit by only 8 hours or so).

  • You can find more about the movie (a little more anyway) at the movie's web site. www.otnemem.com (memento backwards get it?)
  • And a bit late with the review, aren't we?

  • And, make sure you're looking for "Memento" as in "Something to help you remember" instead of "Momento" which is something like a little bit of Momentum.

    (BTW, I'm still calling it "Momento", though, since that's what I thought I saw when I read it the first time.)

  • I'm excited about going and seeing this movie. Why? Because I'm sick of all the bullshit mindless movies that center around how many pretty explosions you can fit into a certain timespan. There is a time and place for mindless entertainment, but don't you like to think every once in a while?

  • There are only 2 theatres in Toronto that show that movie. What's up with that? On the other note, just watched Bridget Jones' Diary - great movie. Really.
  • I loved Memento, but it wasn't as shocking as Usual Suspects. US was a much bigger and invigorating movie. Memento was interesting and unique. It's great to see something different, but it wasn't something I'd see many times. I did see it twice, but the novelty will wear off if I see it again. Then again, that time would be better spent looking for something even more different;-)
  • I feel the same way about this movie. I've seen it twice and it was very interesting, but the backwards novelty wears off.

    What exactly is your problem with hobbits?
    If you were really a nazgul, I'd understand.

  • I feel the same way about this movie.
    I've seen it twice, and while it was very interesting, the backwards novelty wears off.

    What exactly is your problem with hobbits?
    If you were really a nazgul, I'd understand.

  • The theme for the game is that you are "The Nameless One" - a freakish scarred being who cannot die. In fact, you first wake up in the game to be greeted by a talking skull telling you that you've come back to life once more, yet you cannot remember anything. Throughout the game, you find clues, and other secrets which sheds more light on your past life, or past lives. For example, at one point you wander into a cache of information for yourself that you constructed ages ago. The game doesnt move backwards through time, but there are flashbacks, memories, and other interesting developments that really make it seem like you are figuring out who or what you are. Quite a fun game - try it out some time.

  • As usual, you're just throwing up any old movie or book review you can think of, whether it's timely or relevant or not. Usually Not. As far as Slashdot "asking you", how does that work? "Hey, Jon, can you turn out another of those hyperventilated, school-boy assesments of something at least several months out of date?" I agree with the poster, you should stick such stuff somewhere else instead .
  • Well, my opinion about the CTHD movie craze is this:

    It's a martial arts movie, obviously, but the plot is a bit deeper than "My name is somethingorother, you killed my master/father/family/dog, prepare to die". There's love, friendship, honor, stuff like that, and none of the "you big-muscled man, me helpless bimbo, me want you" that passes as love on mostly every other action flick.

    Another reason I loved the movie was the natural scenery they used as background. Very impressive. I never knew China had such beautiful forests, deserts and mountains.

    And I'd have to disagree about the action scenes being standard. They had a semi-mythological aura (or whatever you could call it) that's not present in movies other than old Ninja movies and the like. Or "The Matrix", of course.

    Maybe that's the reason people like both movies. They both have heroes doing impossible stuff (instead of nearly impossible, such as the stunts in movies like "Mission Impossible" or "The replacements"). And deep down we all want to do things no one else can.

    Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I
  • You seem pretty angry. Maybe I can fix that. First, challenging is different from itentionally confusing. Take a movie like 2001. It was challenging, but it wasn't intentionally confusion.

    Second, you talk about original content. While I agree with the nonsense about redoing things like Psycho and Josie and The Pussycats, not all adaptations of a novel are poorly done. Take, again, 2001. It presented an already good novel in a different way, while retaining the ideas presented in that novel. That it what an adaptation of a novel should be like.

    And, finally, please, don't talk like everyone in the USA is a moron. I live there, and I know it isn't true.

  • You didn't get it, did you? If you do understand everything, you should get your money back! ;-)
  • With all the talk about planted web-sites and other guerilla-advertising tactics, it is refreshing to do a google search for Momento. I couldn't find any relevent results. Same even with the imdb.

    The question is, is this really better for the movie? Do planted sites hurt the legitamacy of a film or does not having them just make it harder to compete?
  • Yes, I think you're right. I seem to recall Ebert reviewing it on his television show several months ago and it caught my attention because it was intriguing that of someone with no capacity to form new memories trying to track down his wife's killer. Yet it only showed up here in the U.S. last week.

    One warning. The film is really short like an hour long.

  • Clearly you don't understand. Having the movie run backwards forces you to perceive the world the same way that the main character does -- he doesn't know what happened immediately before the current scene, and neither do you. It's important to the mystery that you don't know what happened previously. If you know things that the main character used to know, but has now forgotten, there would be no mystery. The movie is a tour de force for being able to fracture time as it does and still end up being completely coherent and a wonderful mystery.

    The disorder sufferred by the main character is actually a real disorder, and is fairly accurately described in the film. This movie gives you a real feeling for what it might be like to have a disorder such as this. Time becomes fractured and your existance is a series of unconnected vignettes that might as well be backwards as forwards, since you've lots all sense of time over the long hall.

    In doing this, the film is not only a complete mindfuck, which is always an entertaining thing, but it also illuminating on some pretty deep philosophical issues.

    If you don't like to be mindfucked and you don't like to think philosophy, stay home. If you like either of these things, you will LOVE this movie. It's the best movie of the next three years.

  • This was a good movie, but I don't think it should be compared to Sixth Sense or Usual Suspects (which it has been in some reviews). The endings of both those movies snap the entire movie into focus, like putting the last piece in a puzzle. Memento leaves as many questions unanswered as it answers. Still, worth seeing. A very original idea and the backwards thing works pretty well.
  • I saw it on an Air France flight back to the US a couple of months ago. I watched it two-and-a-half times, and I still don't have the entire story straight. That's a REALLY good movie!
  • What he does at the end of the movie completely changes the perspective of the entire movie up to that point. Seeing it the first time is a complete shock and you have to basically watch the entire movie again keeping the ending in mind to fully understand what's going on. One of the advantages of telling the story backwards is that things later in the film affect things earlier in the film, and Momento uses this very effectively.
  • Is this another of those rare occasion where we in Europe have actually seen a film well before the US (like with "Snatch"). Or is it just a ridiculously late review?

    Or, for those of you who've seen the film, is it life imitating art?

  • Over here in Ireland, it was released sometime last October. And about two weeks later, it even made it out of the tiny little art-house cinema and into the main-stream one.

    Go figure.
  • I agree with not agreeing about the ending. :-)

    When I first saw it and walked out of the theater, I felt like Katz did -- it seemed kind of a let-down. The friends who saw the film with me felt the same way. However, after a few minutes of discussing the movie and the ending, we realized that we all had very different takes on the implications it had for the other parts of the movie! There was a lot to discover, a lot to debate, and I'm sure, a lot that would be rediscovered on a second viewing.

    It's definitely a movie to see. It's by far the best I've seen in a while, and you should go see it too.

  • I work for a cinema in Sydney, Australia, and we're running the print for Memento, and it is bizzare. Some people (the crowd we get are usually nice) have approached me after seeing the film, and one guy said: "That movie is a f'ing scam! If I don't see it again, I'll never understand a f'ing thing." - and yes, that was in jest.
  • Can anyone else remember the sci-fi story that Memento's premise is obviously (?) based on. Some guy captured by "the enemy" and given a drug that kills his short term memory except he's been specially trained to "handle it. Most memorable line was "Look around!" IIRC.
  • My question requires that I name a spoiler to ask it. So...

    > ...the ending neatly tied the whole thing together...

    Okay, I think I disagree. As much as I liked the movie, isn't the fact that [spoiler] he intentionally misremembered the insulin story a deus ex machina? The fact that it's presented to the audience as fact is a narrative flaw, even if this mental construction was done out of shock. [/spoiler]

    I've been known to miss a detail, so don't flame me. I want the story to work! But don't pull a "oh, by the way, this one part we made up" at the last second. That's a cheat. It's inconsistent. The rest wasn't a cheat, which is why that detail stands out.
  • And damn, this movie was GREAT.
    Too bad it's not getting the Tv advertising or the studio support it needs to go in a really wide release- most of the major theaters around me aren't even going to show it, and I had to go see it in New York. It cost me 10 bucks to get into the city, about 3 bucks for sub fare and other expenses, and 10 bucks for a ticket. And you know what? I would have been willing to pay more.
    This movie is not only a brilliant reworking of the whole suspense/detective genre, but it's also emotionally wrenching. There were a few scenes that were just heartbreaking, and I tihnk everyone can identify with Leonard to some extent- the feeling of waking, of losing important thoughts before they can be recorded- and of a past self determining things for the future self- sometimes without the future self-being aware of it...
  • The movie is not confusing at all, and indeed it sometimes it's fault is that it lays out the whole backwards things a little TOO obviously. This aint "Hollywood" either. "Hollywood" never could have come up with a film like this. The whole backwards thing is perfect- it fits in exactly with Leonard's character and his medical condition, and never becomes just a cheap gimick.
  • It's neither. In fact, by the end, WHO killed his wife is not really the important part at all. His wife's death has nothing to do with the "shock" part of the ending, and that's what's so powerful about it. The realization is instead almost entirely psychological- an insight into character, not just the unwinding of a "trick" plot, or a pulling off of a cheesy mask.
  • I think the ending is good because it is NOT what you expect: is it not a revealing of some trick secret, like that Lenny is really a ghost, or that the murderer is.. so and so... Lenny really does have the condition he claims he does. No silly masks are pulled off.

    If you go into it hoping that you'll be getting a Fight Club or 6th Sense type jolt, you will feel disappointed- because this movie doesn't do that. It does something new: a much more subtle and psychological tying up of loose ends. It really makes you question not just all the facts in the movie, but also your own moral sense, the coherency of your own memories and intentions. And that's why it was worthwhile- not just because you felt so goosed that it tricked you.

    It grows on you too. After first seeing it, I liked it a great deal. But I kept coming back to it (not just the ending either) and just HAD to see it again (which, by the way, is an entirely different experience. All sorts of new realizations, like Lenny clenching hsi fist at one point, or Teddy joking that they should steal Dodd's car)
  • I disagree. The movie does have it's puzzles, but they're not really there just to jazz you when you find them out. In this case the puzzles really say something insightful about the characters: they let you experience Lenny's condition in a way you couldn't have if the movie went forwards, or if you knew things that Lenny didn't. I think the movie is a character study as much as a suspense/mystery. And plenty of things in it were artful and even really moving. Lenny's discussion of how he can't heal, or his experience with the escort come to mind...
  • and still am not sure how everything finished up. I'll definately be watching the movie again in the next day or two. I'd been waiting for weeks for it to open here and went as soon as I was able to. As much as I loved Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Traffic last year, this movie did more for me than any movie since Fight Club or American Beauty.

    As far as this not playing in the local multiplex, if this movie (with a confusing plot, no stars, an unknown director) had opened wide, it would have died fast since it's hard to market. When American Beauty opened a couple years ago, it started in small theaters, built up word of mouth from people, kept selling out like crazy, then expanded where it was showing once they knew that people had heard about the movie and it would succeed. If Memento keeps getting tons of people to showings (and since you really need to see it twice, I'm sure it will), it might eventually expand to larger theaters after more people have heard of it. Crouching Tiger even followed this same path. It's used by studios all the time to open movies that might not open well if they start wide, but by starting small, they can build momemtum and then become a success. If it's not playing where you live yet, it will get there, but I know the feeling of waiting. I drove 4 hours to see Crouching Tiger early last year.

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