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copyright ©1999-2001

flick pick | Memento 2000
Directed + written by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when youíre in the mood for
something:  mind-bending 
The critic says: Ĺ/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: Ĺ/5 

Plot synopsis Leonard Shelby might be suffering from anterograde amnesia, but he knows a few things. That he used to be an insurance investigator, for one thing, and good at his job. And that his life changed on the day he came home and saw his wife raped and murdered. Itís the latter fact thatís left him in his current state: thanks to a bad blow to the head on that awful day, Leonardís short-term memory has been completely shot. Unable to generate any new memories since the murder, Leonardís nonetheless determined to seek his wifeís killer, a man named John G., and exact vengeance. So heís devised other ways to "remember": tattooed notes on his body, Polaroid pictures with pithily descriptive captions. As Leonard tries to piece together what heís learned, we meet a shifty man name Teddy and a woman named Natalie, both of whom claim to be Leonardís allies. But Leonard canít put his trust in anything besides the concrete facts heís recorded. The problem, of course, is that he has no way of processing these fragments of information: taken out of context, theyíre next to impossible to decipher -- making the truth as slippery as Leonardís bad memory.

Review Memoryís a tricky thing; it lies, so convincingly, to reinforce what weíd like to be true. Still, we rely on our admittedly subjective memories of the past in order to understand the present, which in turn informs those decisions that will shape our future. We scribble notes in journals, photograph constantly, wax nostalgic with others who share our past Ė amass all this "objective" proof Ė in an effort to reinforce those memories, to confirm that our truth is the Truth. Mementoís protagonist has no memory, so he works on collecting proof instead. Since the movie begins at the end of the story, working backwards in elusive fragments that gradually reach further and further back in time to reveal the past, we experience the story in the same way that Leonard remembers it. With each burst of remembered time, we, along with Leonard, think we get a little closer to the real truth of whatís happened. The plot in and of itself is delightfully twisty-turny, and writer-director Nolan even throws a bit of dark comedy to boot (notably in a scene where Leonard, smack dab in the middle of being pursued by a man with a gun, forgets why heís running and concludes that heís the chaser rather than the chasee), but itís the way Memento plays around with memory, truth and perception that makes it so intriguing. Donít watch Memento when youíre tired. This movieís a brain-teaser, and thereís no way to fully appreciate it without your mental faculties on full alert. Even then, the end may very well leave your head spinning, as you try to piece together the implications of everything thatís revealed in those final scenes.óreviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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