Entertainment Movies

Revisiting the Classics: ‘Memento’ is a masterpiece, showcases Nolan’s first successes

‘Memento’ — starring Guy Pierce, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Joe Pantiliano
9 out of 10

By Graham Armknecht ’18
THE ROUNDUP

Sometimes it helps to start with the end of a movie and work your way back for a story to make sense. Such is the case with “Memento” (2001), a fantastic movie that’s hiding in plain sight.

The movie starts out with Leonard Shelby (Guy Pierce) shooting and killing the man who he believes killed his wife (Joe Pantilliano). Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler.

The movie goes in reverse to explain the matter of the shooting, and to explain how Leonard has short term memory loss. He cannot form any new memories, but he retains all of his old memories before the incident where he believes his wife was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Let’s start for what worked for this movie: the pacing and the narrative itself. Due to it being played in reverse, it jumps backwards to each time Leonard Shelby forgets the previous scene that just occurred.

The acting in this movie works very well for what it’s trying to accomplish. Pierce is convincing with his condition of short term memory loss, which helps drive the whole plot.

Pantilliano, who plays Leonard’s friend Teddy, is played with ease as well. Carrie-Ann Moss could have been used in a better way than just as a slight side story to bring more light to Leonard’s condition and how he struggles.

However, I feel the largest strength of this movie is the narrative and the screenplay. While Hollywood today is flooded with sequels, Michael Bay explosion movies and superhero flicks, this feels different.

While the story is mainly just a simple revenge plot, it has enough of a twist not only in the movie itself, but in how the movie is told, that makes the movie feel original.

I won’t spoil the movie itself, even if it is 15 years old. Overall, this is a wonderful trip down memory lane, which helps showcase Nolan’s style and rise to prominence.