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Memento

Before the epic release that was The Dark Knight, before his narrative of illusion with The Prestige, and before he even rebooted the Batman series with Batman Begins, Christoper Nolan wasn't a very well-known director. Having directed only one film in the late '90's, it was difficult to say exactly how his next film, Memento, would fare with critics and audiences alike. Now having seen Memento, I can say that this film is, without a doubt, Nolan's best work.

The film follows Leonard Shelby, a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia after the rape and murder of his wife. Vowing revenge, Leonard swears to find his wife's killer - a man only known as "John G." - despite his hindering condition. In the film, we follow two alternating timelines, with the colored timeline going in reverse chronological order and the b/w being in chronological order. This sounds confusing, at first, but the film is actually pretty straight-forward in terms of its timelines. You'll have to keep yourself thinking throughout the film, but this only helps to engage the viewer with this original, and very fascinating, narrative.

The characters are all fantastically-written and played here, with quirky people like Teddy or mysterious figures such as Natalie. Each has their own place in Leonard's story, which comes with plenty of enjoyable twists and turns. The reverse chronological order is also really fascinating, connecting us even further with Leonard as we share in his confusion and disorientation.

The visuals are also great, giving Memento a distinct look that's part noir/part neo-realism. It's difficult to further comment on the visuals, because they just work so well. Whether it's the film's b/w tale, or the thrilling colored timeline, Memento's style compliments the film's substance wonderfully.

The pacing is just perfect as well, never dragging or going too fast for its own good. It sends us from point to point, leaving us to ponder previous (or would it be later?) sequences in this character-driven story. The two timelines also streamline with one another fantastically, with the alterations between the two timelines always occurring at just the right moments.

I can't praise Memento enough. All of its elements, from its camerawork to the script, just really work. Leading the viewer through an interesting narrative with a powerhouse ending, the film's substance is only matched by its style. Character-driven, visually-pleasing, and a fantastic pacing make Memento a perfect example of what I love about movies.





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