Semi-nonspoiler review: "Mememto"

From: Ken Clements (
Date: Sun Jul 15 2001 - 23:57:58 MDT

I went to see the movie "Memento" yesterday. This one is terrific. Given that we
have had several reviews in a row crying about lack of plot, cry no more. This is
the most original idea I have seen in years. It has been out in the art theaters
for a few months. I saw the trailer when it first hit town, but thought it would
probably be dumb. Then I noticed that it has been packing them in the same place
for months, so I decided to go see it.

The story is about a guy who suffered brain damage during an attack in his home
that resulted in the murder of this wife. His injury has left him without the
ability to form long term memory. In the movie he explains that he has a loss of
short term memory, but actually he has good short term memory, and access to all
his long term memory before the injury, he just cannot make new long term memory,
so everything from the murder to a few minutes ago is gone. Anyway, his mission
in life (such as it is) is to track down and kill whoever murdered his wife.

In order to give the viewer a feel for what life is like for this guy, the cuts in
the movie are run in reverse order, so you start by seeing the end and work your
way backwards. This way, the audience cannot use memory of earlier events to
figure out what is going to happen. You sit there with perfect "memory" of the
future, but have to keep guessing what you are about to see that has come before.
There are many great plot twists, but given that this is shown backwards, you see
them as plot untwists. The best of these is right at the beginning, which you see
last. So I will not spoil it for you by telling how it starts.

Many deep philosophical issues are kicked around in this movie. I am sure most
movie goers will enjoy it without notice, however, I think folks on this list will
come away with plenty of things to think about.


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