Memento in a Moment

Acclaimed film director Christopher Nolan began his career with a number of neo-noir films that leave the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end. The second of these, Memento, released in 2000 and was based on a story suggested by his brother, Jonathan Nolan. The tale follows a man who has lost his wife in an incident that caused him to lose the ability to create new memories, and how he hunts down her killer and gets revenge. However, in a most unusual method of telling the story, the plot progresses backwards.

By using this fragmented narrative, Nolan gets the audience’s immediate attention when he begins with the concluding scene, and continues to maintain this as the story progresses backwards in time, each new revelation leading us closer and closer to the end. Simultaneously, some black and white scenes progress forwards from the chronological beginning. Despite their opposing chronologies, the two story-lines meet in brilliant synchronisation for a mind-blowing climax.

The 3 main characters are portrayed by Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss. All three play their characters well, especially Guy Pearce who plays the protagonist Leonard Shelby. His anterograde amnesia prevents him from making any new memories, and he thus relies on a number of photographs with notes and tattoos on his body which give him his basic information. Using these to keep reminding himself of what he has discovered, and with the help of a few other characters, Nolan takes the audience on Lenny’s journey with him as he discovers the truth.


If you read my first review in this series, you may notice a slight trend beginning to emerge. Although I’m interspersing them with other films, I’m primarily following the films of one director over the years – Christopher Nolan. It is interesting to see the trend and observe the development from one film to the next – especially having also just watched his latest, Dunkirk. (Review for that coming soon too!)

Further, I’ve made this review very concise and containing no spoilers. I may post another more detailed analysis of the entire film as well; let me know if you’d be interested to read that!

This was written for Day 3 of Review Week – make sure to check out the other days’ reviews too!

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