Memento is a movie almost entirely about its plot structure, which is certainly clever and memorable. The problem is that it depends so much on the viewer’s fun piecing the story together that rewatches diminish the movie’s thrill — you already know what’s going to happen, so there’s not much to “piece together.”
It doesn’t help that the dialogue is so clunky and expository, telling us its themes at face value.
The film’s final act is its strongest. Not because of the “oh SHIT” revelations, but because we finally get to see the film develop its themes: the connection between memory and identity, the use of self-delusion as a mechanism for coping with grief, and the way we humans will inevitably exploit people who can’t hold it against us.
Nolan’s direction is solid, occasionally bracing (like the scary home invasion flashback), but of course nowhere near as adventurous and cinematic as he’d deploy a few years later. I particularly enjoyed a black-and-white segment towards the end as he walks through a warehouse hallway. Most of the black-and-white segments are still, medium shots, so seeing the neo-noir promise come to life for a bit was great.
- Review Project: 2009 Top 100
Very Good (6/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.