Memento (2000) Movie Review

This dude can’t trust his memory so he got tattoos…

Memento is a work of art. The movie opens with a shirtless guy, covered with tattoos, talking on the phone in a dingy motel room. Once he is out of the room, he met another guy who claimed to be his friend and together they went for a ride to an abandoned building. When they reach inside, his so-called friend is shot dead and the tattooed guy take a look at the Polaroid photograph and holds it dearly. Wait, what’s happening here?

One thing I noticed is how awesome Memento’s ‘to and fro’ flashback scenes. Some will hated it and other will loved it. I come in the middle because it can get quickly claustrophobic and nauseating for me, although in a good way. The entire movie is set in singular tone of direction. A rhythm if you will. You will see one scene in the future and another from the past. Both scenes play simultaneously, where it slowly fits the puzzle and you go “ahh yes now I understand”. Another aspect I love is how clever the film connect small things to the storyline. Take our lead character’s tattoos and his Polaroid photos for example, it indirectly builds a connection into the viewer’s mind that serves as a clue we can refer from time to time.

What first started as a psycho-thriller movie subtly altered into more complex and crazy script. Memento is no way a drama movie, but it’s quite close. The desperation of the genius script can be felt all over the place. You feel the character’s loneliness, desperation, his cry for help and it doesn’t stop there, it continues towards the very end, where the twist is preserved. Not that the twist was anything surprising (we kinda get the hint here and there), but it just changed the entire tone of the movie. You want him to have his happy ending but sadly life has a different plan.

Guy Pearce did well as our amnesia hero. I like his clueless acting and body of work. He is a good actor by any means, but I can’t help feeling another actor can easily fill his shoes. Mr Pearce did well with the material he was given, but he didn’t deliver his best performance in my opinion. But not too worry, with the heart-pumping direction the movie has it going, one can’t bother to question the actors’ acting capability to put it mildly. I also like Carrie-Anne Moss as the waitress who may or may not be our hero’s friend as she claimed to be. And of course, it’s hard not to mention Joe Pantoliano’s role as Teddy, our guy’s so-called friend who holds the key to the film’s mystery.

My favourite scene is at the diner where Carrie-Anne Moss work and Guy Pearce came in. He quickly forgot his purpose there and got prank by the beautiful waitress. The scene is so evil and funny, it just stands out among the rest. And of course, who can forgot the heartbreaking scene of Sammy Jenkins and his wife?

Memento is a cleverly-written psychological thriller that deserves every praise it received along the years.