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Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Writing Credits:
Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan

Some memories are best forgotten.

The revenge thriller gets an unforgettable new twist with Memento, an intricate crime story about a man with a damaged memory chasing a murderer whose identity he cannot possibly ever know for sure.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 113 min.
Price: $22.49
Release Date: 2/22/2011

• Audio Commentary with Director Christopher Nolan
• ďRemembering MementoĒ Featurette
• ďAnatomy of a SceneĒ Documentary
• IFC Interview with Writer/Director Christopher Nolan
• ďMemento MoriĒ Story Treatment
• Tattoo Sketches
• ďLeonardís JournalĒ
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Memento [Blu-Ray] (2000)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 28, 2015)

Some folks confuse ďoriginalĒ with ďgoodĒ, as just because a movie does something new doesnít necessarily mean it works. In fact, many times flicks that go down an unusual path fall flat because they seem self-consciously odd. Plenty of ďground-breakingĒ offerings appear to try weird things for no reason other than to be different, which can make them unsatisfying.

And then thereís Memento. Weíve seen a number of non-linear flicks over the years, with Pulp Fiction and the like, but Memento takes this concept to an extreme.

Essentially, it runs its story in reverse. Of course, thatís not literally possible, since itíd require everything to go backwards and that would make it awfully tough to understand the dialogue.

Instead, Memento provides a series of scenes. Those go in the normal direction, but filmmaker Christopher Nolan compiles them in a way that goes against the standard chronological presentation. Nolan connects these sequences with linking and expositional pieces.

The story of Memento presents an interesting tale no matter in what direction we see it. It concerns Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man who believes burglars killed his wife during a break-in.

A violent part of this traumatic incident affected Leonardís brain and left him without any short-term memory abilities. As he tries to find the murderers and exact his revenge, his disorder means that he finds it exceedingly tough to maintain focus and piece together the mystery.

Leonard involves some others in his quest. Primarily we get to know Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), but their involvement with Leonard seems shady at times. Since the movie progresses in an episodic manner with a reverse chronology, their motives and actions remain mysterious.

Memento easily could have degenerated into nothing more than a cheap gimmick, but it never does. Instead, Nolan uses the altered chronology as an asset, mostly because it helps put us in Leonardís head. It forces us to gain an appreciation for the confusion that he experiences.

Unlike Leonard, we remember what we see, which makes some of the scenes so powerful, but the chronology creates disorientation in the viewer that forces us to deal with events in a weird way. That makes us identify with Leonard to a stronger degree, and it also means that we question what we know much more strongly.

In addition to Nolanís sturdy direction, Memento benefits from consistently solid acting. Pearce seems especially strong as Leonard. He allows himself to portray the characterís confusion and coping strategies but doesnít turn him into a cartoon. Pearce makes Leonard a compelling and believable personality despite his unusual affliction. He seems just confused enough for us to accept it, but he doesnít overdo the issue.

Ultimately, thatís the main reason why Memento works so well. At no point does it ever go over the top in any way, as it grounds its unusual stylistic choices in a tight and compelling tale. The movie seems consistently clever and provocative, and despite the quirky elements, it holds up very well to additional viewings. Memento turns into a terrific modern film noir.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Memento appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this consistently appealing image.

Sharpness seemed fine. Only a smidgen of softness ever materialized, as the majority of the film showed solid delineation. Jagged edges and moirť effects also caused no problems, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. With a good layer of grain, I didnít suspect any overzealous digital noise reduction, and the movie lacked specks, marks or other print flaws.

Colors provided good reproduction of the source material. At times the hues looked overly hot, but that went along with the design, so I thought the hues worked appropriately for the material. Black levels were dense and tight, especially during the filmís black and white segments; those demonstrated solid contrast and definition. Shadow detail also looked accurate and nicely opaque. This became a strong version of the film.

Overall, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio maintained a rather simple soundfield. It emphasized the forward channels, which displayed good imaging. The spare score presented a fine stereo presence, and effects also appeared in natural and clearly delineated locations. Surround activity showed up infrequently. I noticed some sound from the rear when Leonard shot Teddy, but mostly, those channels featured little more than general reinforcement and some music.

Audio quality seemed positive. Speech displayed natural tones; a little edginess came through during an argument scene, but otherwise the lines sounded fine. Given their low-key presence, effects didnít tax the track, but they seemed accurate and detailed, and they displayed solid bass punch when appropriate. Music sounded clear and lively and also presented nice dynamics. Donít expect fireworks here, but the track suited the movie.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2003 Limited Edition DVD? Audio was a bit more robust and concise, and visuals seemed cleaner and more accurate. I had no problems with the DVD but I felt the Blu-ray improved upon it.

The disc mixes old and new extras. Up first we find an audio commentary from director Christopher Nolan, who offers a running, screen-specific affair. Nolanís dry personality makes the track seem a little slow at times, but he nonetheless offers a lot of solid information about the movie. He mostly focuses on the particular challenges created by this unusual production.

Nolan includes some nuts and bolts material, but most of the time he chats about interpretation of the film, what he intended to do with various techniques, and the intricacies of the format. Nolan helps explain some issues that can seem confusing, like the alternate use of black and white or color photography, and he generally provides a compelling and useful discussion of the production.

One of the more substantial components on the disc, Anatomy of a Scene offers a 25-minute and 15-second program originally aired on the Sundance Channel. The show provides interviews with writer/director Christopher Nolan, editor Dody Dorn, composer David Julyan, producer Jennifer Todd, actor Joe Pantoliano, production designer Patti Podesta, and cinematographer Wally Pfister. They cover some general issues like casting and visual design, but they mostly hold true to the programís title as they discuss the movieís opening (or ending, depending on your point of view). We get some nice details about the production and how they wanted to work things in this interesting little piece.

New to the Blu-ray, Remembering Memento goes for seven minutes, 44 seconds and offers notes from Nolan. The show covers the filmís roots and development, story/script and challenges connected to the narrative, cast and crew, and general thoughts. Nolan delivers a handful of fresh notes in this engaging chat.

From 2000, IFC Interview with Christopher Nolan fills 23 minutes, 51 seconds with a chat between Nolan and film critic Elvis Mitchell. Nolan discusses concepts related to memory, story/character topics, influences and the movieís structure, cast and performances, thoughts about his first film, and some additional notes. Though he repeats some info from elsewhere, this still becomes a good discussion.

A text extra, Memento Mori takes us through Jonathan Nolanís original treatment for the story. Tattoo Sketches offers five screens with close-ups of the messages on Leonardís body, while Leonardís Journal shows six pages from that tome. All of these are good additions to the disc.

The disc opens with ads for Buried, Apocalypse Now, Monsterís Ball and Winterís Bone. No trailer for Memento appears on the disc.

What does the Blu-ray drop from the Limited Edition DVD? It loses a chronological cut of the movie as well as a screenplay, trailers and various still images. I miss all of them, though the absence of the chronological version becomes the most painful excision; while I donít think itís a great way to view the story, itís still a cool option.

A genuinely unusual and intriguing movie, Memento provides something different for the film noir genre. It never falls back on gimmicks and it seems like a consistently entertaining and compelling effort. The Blu-ray boasts positive picture and audio along with a fairly interesting collection of supplements. Itís too bad not all of the Limited Edition DVDís components come along for the ride, but the improvements in terms of movie presentation make this the version of Memento to own.

To rate this film, visit the original review of MEMENTO