Movie Review: Memento – 4/5

“Memento,” directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the short story “Memento Mori,” by Johnathan Nolan, the director’s younger brother, is a psychological thriller about a man with short-term memory loss in search of his wife’s killer.

The movie opens with the ending. This is no accident, and it is by far not a bad thing; this movie travels backwards. Following the memory of the main character, Leonard Shelby, you start with the last scene, which for him is his most recent memory. Piece by piece, you find the evidence, the drama and the lies.

When a horrible incident befalls his wife, the assailant struck Shelby over the head, causing short-term memory loss. He then begins using a memory-aid system of tattooing facts about the killer on his body and photographs with notes scrawled in the margins.

The film goes in two directions: one backward from the conclusion to the introduction, the other from a phone call forward. The phone call gives the back story between scenes from the main plot. At first, this is a little confusing; the only indication of a change between the phone call and the original plot is the switch from black and white to color. However, these phone call scenes fit together not only to explain the character’s history, but also to help the viewer understand the more confusing plot points.

This movie, much like “Inception,” will confuse the distracted fellow unless followed intently. Small facts are given in each jump back and the next jump back will not give, the same information again. The movie itself was quite enjoyable, but it did have a few issues.

There are a few illogical missteps, all iced over by Shelby’s inability to remember. And, the movie appears to be low-budget. That being said, Nolan manages to pull off this tricky, interlacing plot with what he had: three cars, a hotel, a bar, an empty shack, a gun and a camera.

I recommend “Memento” only to those with the interest to pay attention and the time to watch someone lose their mind. Personally, I could watch this movie many times over and still enjoy the film style and characters.