Memento - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Memento Reviews

Page 1 of 1395
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2010
A mentally stimulating and expertly edited exercise in storytelling built upon two alternating threads moving in opposite directions (the main one backwards, a black-and-white subplot forward) until they converge in the end, making us undergo the same disorientation of its character.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2006
I need to watch this again.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2006
An ex insurance investigator with a medical condition that leaves him with no short term memory is hunting the killer of his wife with the aid of notes left to himself in the form of tattoos all over his body. Christopher Nolan's big budget debut is a stunningly original twist on the detective movie formula, telling the story of a man's quest for vengeance in reverse chronological order. This sounds like a very simple, almost obvious idea, but it is done with such beautifully engineered intelligence and subtlety that it keeps you guessing not only til the end of the film, but also til the end of each scene as you, along with Guy Pearce's obsessive investigator, try to link each jigsaw puzzle piece of the story together. It's one of those films that is ironically unforgettable, and my only wish is that I could erase MY memory and watch it for the first time again and again. Truly unique and quite, quite brilliant.
Super Reviewer
½ November 14, 2006
A mind-blowing and electrifying thriller. A real classic. Stunning, breathtaking, mind-bending and exhilarating. It's stylish, witty, nail-biting, intoxicating and terrifically addictive. A great body of work. It works from all corners and pieces itself nicely. A masterpiece. It's amazing, astonishing and unforgettable. This film takes it's place as one of the finest crime thrillers ever created. An explosive and hard boiled plot that never let's up for a second. It gets richer with every layer. A real adrenaline fueled cocktail of a film. It will keep you on the edge of your seat then it will be blow you away. The suspense appears from every corner. Guy Pearce gives a brilliant and incredible performance, he acts with such dedication and nobility to this character. Carrie-Ann Moss gives a strong and compelling performance. Joe Pantoliano is terrific. Director, Christopher Nolan is an extraordinary new filmmaker of uncompromisable talent. A unique and creative style that will only get better. You will want to watch it again and again and it gets better every time.
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2007
Masterpiece thriller concerning a man suffering from short-term memory loss, and the clues he has tattooed on his body to remind him of who he is and what he's doing. Guy Pearce really gives a first-rate performance in a topsy-turvy script expertly constructed by the dark mind of Christopher Nolan. It takes balls to do a film in reverse motion, having scenes replayed over and over again, which risks losing its audience, luckily Nolan is no dummy and plays his cards masterfully. Without question one of the best thrillers of all-time.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2012
One of the most brilliant films I have ever seen. A masterpiece. Flawless. Haunting. Amazing. Breathtaking.
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2012
Incredible thriller from director Christopher Nolan, Memento is one of those films that you need to rewatch again and again to truly get. This is an innovative thriller that you need to keep close attention to its story or else you'll lose track of what's going on. Brilliantly acted by Guy Pearce, this is a stunning piece of cinema that showed early potential of what was to come from Christopher Nolan. The film is multilayered and the plot it has plenty of twists from start to finish. Nolan delivers a solid film, and it is one film to keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end. There are some great performances ere alongside that of Guy Pearce. This is a great film that leaves you guessing, and I love how Christopher Nolan is able to deliver something like this. Then again, he always was a great director, but with Memento he shows hints of early brilliance that would be most apparent in his later films. Memento's brilliance is in the strong performances and script, and Nolan's effective directing. This is a near flawless film that requires multiple viewings. If you love a film that has many plot twists and keeps you guessing from start to finish, this film is for you. Memento is a solidly crafted film that has a terrific plot and is supported by a great cast of talented actors. This is one Christopher Nolan's earlier best works. A must see for Christopher Nolan fans. What I loved about the film was that it required devoting your entire attention and in turn you are totally absorbed by its plot and you try to make sense of what's going on. A truly original film and a unique thriller.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2012
Christopher Nolan's Memento is truly a rare and exceptional achievement in modern film making in that it manages to be new, fresh and exciting without ever tiring its audience out -- unless you're walking into this film without the desire to participate and actively analyze the mysterious details.

Memento is an old-fashioned noir-type mystery thriller with an intriguing, ingenious twist: outfitting the entire film with a style that mirrors the protagonist's own mental condition while giving the poor viewer(s) his own perspective as well. It is masterfully filmed and edited in such a way that it is chronologically presented backwards (with two initially separate, parallel storylines -- the main one, shot in color, is the chronologically-backwards story with scenes that intercut with those of the other story, which is filmed more like a documentary, shot in black & white, and mostly takes place inside a motel room with the main character narrating, talking about the effects of his condition, etc.) While the average viewer may already be put off by such a complicated, confusing format, it is a very original premise that is well worth the struggle to figure out.

Acting is solid across the board, as is the writing, directing, etc., but special kudos must be extended to the very talented editor Dody Dorn, who successfully managed to put all of these fragments together and help them flow in a smooth, healthy manner that is not easy to pull off.

One of the most memorable (bad pun?) films you're likely to ever see, Memento is an instant classic due to its groundbreaking narrative style and impressive dramatic undertones. For those jaded moviegoers who seek something to keep them awake, interested, and constantly thinking, there couldn't be a better choice than this film.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2012
Wow. Intelligence is the word. Film-noir mixed with something totally new. It's a great thriller with a great, unconventionally innovative plot, and a lot intelligence and a lot of substance. Thing is, it's too confusing for one sitting. Many re-watches are required. But the movie is great, Nolan's genius wins out.
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2011
Teddy: You don't want the truth. You make up your own truth. 

"Some memories are best forgotten"

Memento is a brilliant, inventive, and challenging film. It's also Christopher Nolan's first masterpiece. He had already shown everyone that he was skilled with his short, black and white film, Following; but this is where we saw his talent for what it was really worth. He manipulates what we are seeing by showing us everything in reverse order. The scene that starts the movie is supposedly the end, but in the way he tells it, it's really the beginning. In the same way the end is really the beginning. You could take the movie, turn it around, and it would still make sense. It would just have a different tone to it. That's not important though. 

So the story is told backwards or so we are supposed to think. Leonard has no short term memory. In order to have any idea what is going on at all, he must write down notes, take pictures, and sometimes even tattoo himself. He has a mission. He is trying to track down the man that killed and raped him wife, and also took his short term memory in the process. The great thing about how Nolan films the story is that we think we know the ending(since we are shown it at the start), but in reality, the ending(although it did happen) didn't happen in the context we thought it did. I know this all sounds very confusing, but watch the film and be ready to be amazed by how brilliant everything about it is. It's one of cleverest movies I have seen. Nolan has a way of making smart, entertaining films; and this one is up their with his best.

The first time I watched Memento; I remember wondering after each independent scene why it was done this way. It made no sense to me why all suspense would be thrown out the window. We already knew everything we really needed to know. You may have the same feeling the first time you watch it. As the film goes on though, events will change your mind. 

Memento is truly a unique, one of a kind film experience. There's a reason Christopher Nolan is my favorite director, and it is because every time he makes a movie; I get the feeling that I am watching something that has never been done and couldn't been done by anyone else. A lot of movies feel a lot alike. A lot of filmmakers feel a lot alike. Nolan is in a distinct class of filmmakers that are entirely their own. His movies, his ideas, and his decisions are entirely his. That's what makes me love everything he does from Following to Inception. That's also how I know I am going to love the end of The Batman Trilogy.
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2007
A man with a short term memory dysfunction searches for ... his wife's murderer but ... its hard to remember all the specifics, all the details. The essence of memory ... very important, maybe too important to leave ... to memory. Another excellent Nolan film.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2010
"Inception"? You think that has a good ending? ...then you're dumb. "Memento"'s miles better than Christopher Nolan's disappointing "Inception"; its a grand puzzle, that once unravelled, turns out to almost be a masterpiece.

"Memento" takes an intriguing premise and expounds on it when its coupled with murder and mystery. The editing better be good if you're gonna be playing the events of the movie backwards, and I proudly say that Nolan did a breathtakingly fantastic job. A mesmerizingly innovative movie that takes a seemingly complicated style of presentation and delivers it so that audience members are given a puzzle easy enough to deal with but fascinating enough to be engrossing. "Memento" entrusts the viewers with its bold approach. And because of this backwards storytelling, it demands viewers to genuinely predict how the future events came about. Sensational. A one-of-a-kind. Unfortunately, character development somewhat takes a back seat during these events, the cinematography/camerawork is generic at best, and there's poor pacing during the first half of the movie, but the narrative of "Memento" is so commanding that it overpowers the flaws of this movie. After rewatching this film, I notice that though the movie has an ingenious premise with a fleshed out and cohesive approach to how to present its narrative, there are pacing issues in the first hour. Not a lot of developments occur, but its almost like the stage is being set up for a grand spectacle for the last few moments.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
This is probably the only film that has ever been told backwards in a way that gives you the details you are looking for at the beginning of a story, which is technically at the end of the film. While watching "Memento" I was paying close attention to little details, because I would have been very upset if the writers didn't taker their time to piece everything together properly. I can honestly say that everything that went into the making of this film made it look like a masterpiece. There are a few more minor details I would have liked to see from Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), but if that is my only complaint then I have no reason not to love this film. After Leonard's (Guy Pearce) wife is raped and murdered he must piece together the evidence he has through the pictures and notes that he has taken in order to get revenge. The only problem this that he suffered from short term memory loss after being knocked unconscious on the scene of his wife's death. This film represents (on a stand alone basis) what filmmaking truly is and should be. The cinematography is very simple, yet engaging, the acting is superb, and of course, the story, even though it may be simple, is told in such a complex way that it just feels like a story I have never seen before. "Memento" is a masterpiece!
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2012
Christopher Nolan does not simply make a bad movie. It's somewhat impossible for him to do. Every movie he's made is brilliant and Memento is no exception.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2010
Before his foray into the adventures of the Caped Crusader with "Batman Begins", "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" or even his mind-bending Science fiction actioner "Inception", director Christopher Nolan delivered this independent, teasingly constructed, psychological thriller in 2000. It was based on an original idea by his brother Jonathan and was only his second feature - after his debut "Following" in 1998. It also marked the emergence of a brilliant directorial talent.
Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man who suffers from short term amnesia. He can't make new memories. The last memory he has, is of his wife... dying. Leonard knows one thing; his wife was murdered. He doesn't know by whom though and sets out to find her killer, with his condition causing an obvious problem. So as not to forget any information he comes across, it has to be taken, either in photograph or tattooed to his body. Every waking day he has, is a fresh start and a fresh investigation with people manipulating him along the way. Or is he manipulating his own mind...?
With the arrival of Quentin Tarantino in the early 90's and his films "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction", it became cool again, to deliver films in different time frames and to manipulate the chronology of the narrative. Tarantino was by no means the first, but he influenced a new generation of filmmakers. There was an abundance of low-budget crime thrillers that attempted to emulate his success. It wasn't until Christopher Nolan delivered this though, that even Tarantino had been surpassed.
According to Nolan, the best place to start his story, is at the end. Who am I to question that? Who am I to question one the finest independant films to cross across in years? He does indeed start at the end of the film, working his way back to the beginning and taking you through one of the most jaw dropping and confusing films I've ever seen... and I've seen a lot. Straight away, we know how this story plays out but the skill is in finding out why.
Not only is the narrative manipulated but the most impressive thing about this, is how we participate in the main characters frame of mind. He is us, as we try to decipher an elaborate murder mystery, in reverse order. If your not carefully listening or observing, this will leave you miles behind. Rarely does a film demand such unconditional attention and still have you scratching your head. It's not only the accomplished direction or the vice-like script that's impresses though. Guy Pearce's central performance is also marvellous. He displays the perfect amount of vacantness, unsure of himself and others, with glimmers of paranoia and despair. Without a performance to capture this characters bewilderment, it wouldn't have worked as well as it does.
The tag-line for this was... "Some memories are best forgotten". The same can't be said for this film. It won't allow you to forget it. An absolutely gripping and perplexing modern noir from Nolan and one of the finest and most orginal films for a very long time.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
A film with a sporadic plot, sideways actions of a group of characters whose motives are unclear, and a range of interesting ensuing clues and concerns that makes up this disjointed venture from masterful director and writer Christopher Nolan. The film works in the same vein as other mind bending films, using the ending of the film as the beginning. That doesn't seem like a compelling pretense in classic marginal noirs with the figure being a tortured martyr who is only out for revenge, and sees his life as inconsequential in the process. The film follows a man who suffers from having short term memory loss, which means he can't make any new memories and consequently has his memory swiped at the sound of something being slammed, crashes, gun fire, or simply when he wakes up. Though he cannot remember what has happened since his wife's death, and his subsequent injury, he holds the same emotional response as the day she died. Therefore he treads forcefully, thinking of himself as the voyeur of the criminal element and the vigilante who will bring his wife's killer to justice. The people around him are either piteous of his disorder, or entertained by the hoops they make him jump through. It's a jumble of psychoanalytical data for him, as he marks himself in permanent ink, and goes through the repetitive motions to remember the anger, to find a purpose and meaning to his life other than simply existing. The plot device that Nolan first used in his short film Following (1998) and then cultivated for this perfect venue is at times obsessively annoying, all because you have to pay attention, and not let your mind wander like you can in shorter, less impressive films. What makes this extraordinary is the ending, which is almost flippant with its reveal of the true plot, the real reason he does what he does. Without telling you what it is I can safely say that it changes the way we watch film noir, and is so complicated and creative no one can truly give it away with abject certainty. It's cunning and puzzling, but certainly worth switching your brain on for.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2007
Christopher Nolan has rarely ever let me down, and I'm becoming a bigger and bigger fan of his work film-by-film. Even though he'd had some minor success with his first feature film Following, Memento is the one that really put him on the map of filmmakers to keep an eye on. Told simultaneously both forwards and backwards, the structure and conclusion is meticulously well-crafted that it has to be seen to be believed. Beautifully shot and tremendously well-edited, as well as dynamite performances from both Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss, this is absolutely one of all-time favorite films. I find it endlessly inspiring and riveting to watch.
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2011
A rare piece of work that tackles the concept of memory loss in a non-linear narrative manner, and what's great about it is that it actually works. Memento is cleverly plotted in every angle. Nolan gives you time to think, to slowly put everything back into pieces and to enjoy it all at the same time. A recommend to watch to those who want a piece of action and intellectual play while watching.
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2007

Having watched this film numerous times, it still never fails to impress. Iconic for it's unique back to front storytelling and personal investigation into forgotten clues, this film has Murder, Mystery and Suspense, enjoyable performances by Guy Pearc and Joe Pantoliano and is a film like no other.
Page 1 of 1395