{2jtab: Movie Review}

memento - Blu-ray Review


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5 Stars

It’s been ten years since Memento was originally released to universal acclaim.  Look at what director Christopher Nolan has accomplished since then: Insomnia, The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Inception.  It’s a stunning list of films and, certainly, any working director would be fortunate to have one of those titles in their dossier.  Nolan has all of them.  There’s no denying that he is the modern masterpiece filmmaker; someone one the scale of Stanley Kubrick (who, interestingly enough, also never won an Academy Award for direction).  Here, though, we get to see Nolan as director before he was that Christopher Nolan.

Memento tells the multi-faceted story of Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) and his amnesia in the wake of his wife’s (Jorja Fox) rape and murder.  Structurally aware of itself, the film opens at the end of the narrative and – separating into two seams (one in color and one in black-and-white) – works backwards to tell the complete story.  Leonard kills Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), that much is understood from the opening credits.  It becomes the story’s duty to investigate the reasons why until both storylines converge with a reveal that has more to do with Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) than the inciting event.  Unable to make new memories, Leonard must exist in a here-and-now sort of mentality.  He documents important information with tattoos and notes and photographs; all in the effort to keep memory and himself alive.

The nonlinear narrative is part of the fun of the picture.  You get used to the confusion; it isn’t supposed to be easy to figure out.  Inspired by Memento Mori, a short story written by Jonathan Nolan (Nolan’s brother and primary screenwriter), Memento isn’t afraid to show the seediness of its own local and graphic situations.  There’s certainly an inspired edginess that comes with the two timelines (one told in reverse) that simply won’t let your mind disengage from the film.  Beginning with a photograph of a man shot in the head, the unwinding of lucidity begins until – out of the confusion - we understand exactly what was being related to us from the very beginning.

Consistently regarded by scientists as a correct portrayal of anterograde amnesia, the realism of Memento has a certain level of discomfort associated with its progression.  Darker than most of Nolan’s work and certainly not as glossy as his recent films, Memento – both on the surface and below its skin – has a bit more in common with Nolan’s debut film, Following, from 1998.  Haunting and endlessly spellbinding, the open-ended conclusions the film offers will continue to win over and disturb its audiences – especially those who missed it the first time.

It might not feel like it has been ten years since this film was released, but I can’t wait to see what Nolan has in store for the next ten years.


{2jtab: Film Info}

memento - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some drug content.
: Christopher Nolan
: Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce; Carrie-Anne Moss; Joe Panoliano; Mark Boone Junior
: Crime | Drama | Mystery
Some memories are best forgotten
Memorable Movie Quote:
"I always thought the joy of reading a book is not knowing what happens next."
Sony Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: March 16, 2001
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 22, 2011

Synopsis: A man is determined to find justice after the loss of a loved one, even though he is incapable of fully remembering the crime, in this offbeat thriller. Leonard (Guy Pearce) is a man who is struggling to put his life back together after the brutal rape and murder of his wife. But Leonard's problems are different from those of most people in his situation; he was beaten severely by the same man who killed his wife. The most significant manifestation of Leonard's injuries is that his short-term memory has been destroyed; he is incapable of retaining any new information, and must resort to copious note-taking and Polaroid photographs in order to keep track of what happens to him over the course of a day (he's even tattooed himself with a few crucial bits of information he can't get along without). Leonard retains awareness that his wife was brutally murdered, however, and he's convinced that the culprit still walks the streets. Leonard is obsessed with the notion of taking revenge against the man who has ruined his life, and he sets out to find him, getting help from Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), who appears to be a sympathetic barmaid, and Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), who claims to be Leonard's friend, even though Leonard senses that he cannot be trusted.


{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

memento - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

5 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 22, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Sony didn’t simply repackage their old transfer of this film.  This has been polished and spit-shined and remains truer to its 1080p transfer than ever before.  They are to be applauded for this effort.  Depth of field is vastly improved as well as the colors and the contrast levels; no longer does this film look like a VHS image.   The black-and-white footage is suitably overblown and crisp around the edges, giving this a much more powerful impact than ever before.  The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a welcome addition to the newly upgraded picture and provides some heavy bottom to the mix.



  • There is one commentary – a carry-over from the original release – that is provided by Nolan.  As always, his commentary is analytical and technical; not much emotion in his voice, but that seems to be his M.O. when it comes to filmmaking.

Special Features:

A mix of new and old supplemental material ported over from the original release.  We get some background information of the seed of the idea and how it developed into this career-making film.  There are some Sundance Channel spots made when the film first hit theaters in America and the original short story.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Remembering Memento (8 min)
  • Anatomy of a Scene (25 min)
  • IFC Interview with Christopher Nolan (24 min)
  • Original 'Memento Mori' Short Story
  • Tattoo Sketches
  • Leonard's Journal


{2jtab: Trailer}