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Movie Review - Memento (2000 United States)

Updated on April 25, 2012

A beautiful puzzle inside a cypher, wrapped in a chimera

This is an astonishing film: complex, textural, breathtaking! It’s also structured in a remarkably convoluted way and you may find, as I did, that only on the second watching do all the pieces fall into place in this most intricate of puzzles.

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There's an edge of sheer terror in the basic plot premise — the lead character has a brain injury and is unable to form new memories — since we are all frightened of losing our memories. Watching the protagonist trying desperately to hold on to his — taking photos, jotting down notes and having the most significant clues tattooed on his body — resonates with anyone who's ever temporarily lost a set of keys and wondered if that's it, the start of a world trapped in the present, without the sweet (and bittersweet) past.

That terror escalates, because he's trying to do something of much greater weight than find those pesky keys. He’s on a grim quest to find his wife’s murderer, a mission made impossibly difficult by his utter inability to recall anything that he has done.

Very few films have so completely carried me away with them as this one has. Highly recommended.

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

Genre: Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Rated: R – See Full Rating

Running Time: 2 hr.

In Theaters: Sep 5, 2000

On DVD: Sep 4, 2001

Box Office:$23.8M

Distributor:Newmarket Films

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Written By: Christopher Nolan, Guy Ritchie


Guy Pearce - Leonard, Leonard Shelby

Carrie-Anne Moss - Natalie

Joe Pantoliano - Teddy

Stephen Tobolowsky - Sammy

Mark Boone Jr. - Burt

Harriet Sansom Harris - Mrs. Jankis

Callum Keith Rennie - Dodd

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    • DIYmyOmy profile image

      DIYmyOmy 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thank you very much, this one was easy to review because I enjoyed it so much.

    • profile image

      thatmovieguy71 5 years ago

      A nice review. I thought Memento was an ingenius movie. I loved Guy Pearce in it. I look forward to more movie reviews from you.