Memento: It’s Rewind Time

“Which would be worse: to live as a monster or to die as a good man?”

REPPED: Guy Pearce’s performance is a top-five Nolan performance for sure. He’s able to balance the various personality traits of Leonard while also delivering a performance that’s very emotional and sympathetic. As a revenge flick, Leonard has all the makings of the typical protagonist: he’s methodical and organized but that’s not the only thing we know about him; you see, he’s also got a condition known as anterograde amnesia which prevents him from creating new memories. It’s an effective narrative choice because we’re now following an unreliable narrator which places the audience in a state of unease and uncertainty.

NEGGED: I mean, I don’t know if there really is anything negative to say about Memento. I’ve read some reviews dismissing the reverse narrative as a gimmick, but that seems to be missing the point of the film. It’s a mirror into Leonard’s mental state which in turn has us questioning whether we can trust his point of view or not. It’s all in service to the story and themes being presented.

FINAL VERDICT: I see many parallels between Memento and Shutter Island and the lies we tell ourselves to escape our guilt. This theme of guilt will carry over throughout Nolan’s filmography, but it’s never been more effective than in Memento. The small budget does Nolan a lot of favors as he’s able to focus more on character rather than spectacle. Memento is the reason why dude-bros like myself gravitate towards Nolan and his films: he’s able to make high concept ideas easy to understand while also adding a human element to anchor it all down.

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