Like genre landmarks such as Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, The Matrix, and Se7en, it’s hard to not enjoy Memento. It’s one of Christopher Nolan’s best films, right up there with Inception and Batman Begins in my book.
The movie’s protagonist, Leonard, is played by the always impressive Guy Pearce, and is stricken with a strange disability: the inability to form new memories. It began the night when he was assaulted and his wife (Carrie-Anne Moss, who is also fantastic) was raped and murdered, and if he’s going to take his revenge, he’s going to have to plunge headfirst into uncertainty and danger, with nothing but Polaroid pictures and tattoos to serve as a memory bank.
Memento is brilliant on multiple levels. It’s told in reverse, with each successive scene preceding the last in time, and the unfurling of a rather complex plot is just handled masterfully. So much so that you are compelled to actually participate in Leonard’s journey: you’ll find yourself pausing to read his tattoos and peruse the Polaroids to digest the clues, you’ll wrestle with his uncertainty and devise and discard all kinds of theories, and you’ll anxiously await the final reveal.