Memento: Puzzle-box

[Screenshot]Yow. My response to a lot of the movies I watch is “Meh”. Maybe I’m starting to get oversaturated or something. And then something like Memento comes along and demands that I think hard about it. The overarching structure is not anything terribly new: running a plot stricture backwards has surely been done before. However, the device—that in our bewilderment we are put in the shoes of the protagonist—is nothing short of brilliant. When we ask the question “However did he get in this prediciment?” Leonard asks himself the same thing. Likewise our view of the major characters fluctuates wldly,echoing Leonard’s own need to reassess these people all the time. It all works very well, contributing both to confusion and an extraordinary dramatic tension. The two supporting actors are absolutely brilliant: Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss seem like complete ciphers not from insufficient characterization but from too much, and too inconsistent characterization.

This is a film that makes you think, and makes you think a lot, and even by the end it’s not all sewn up (althoguh there are very few actual inconsistencies). Structurally it’s brilliant, and the cinematography is spot on. Really, it all works about as well as a film can.

See also: IMDB, Wikipeda.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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