Movie Review: Momento

Details: Released in 2000. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano.

So I just reviewed Resevoir Dogs. In continuing with classic movies that I’ve never seen, I decided to move on to Momento. Momento is arguably Christopher Nolan’s first big movie, before the Batman movies at least.

Momento is about a man who can’t form new memories. He suffered head trauma a while back and ever since, the only memories he has are from that incident. The only thing that drives him in his life is the memory someone killed and raped his wife and he wants to catch them, despite his condition.

Momento is structured interestingly and, like Reservoir Dogs, has some of the director’s stylistic tropes in it despite being such an early film in his career. Nolan likes to build a mystery with some big, trippy reveal at the end. The Prestige, Inception, and Interstellar come to mind. He also likes messing with narrative gimmicks and editing to have an effect on the audience. For instance, Inception was a dream within a dream where each dream was set moving at a different speed and Interstellar had the black hole altering time. Prestige was interesting because it was story about a magic trick while the plot itself was a trick.

So there’s often a plot progression or editing gimmick. In Momento, there are two storylines: there is one story line that progresses normally and mostly consists of him talking on the phone. The second and arguably primary story line is told backwards, where we see the most recent event and we watch each prior event in hopes of elaborating on what we saw in the very beginning. It’s an interesting attempt at something that mostly works. My only issues with it is that it is a gimmick and that it was boring for me to watch the same gimmick for two hours. This film should have had half an hour cut from it’s run time.

The actors do a good job. Guy Pearce always puts forth an effort no matter what he’s in, and he does so here. It was nice to see some of the actors from The Matrix again. Those guys were okay. It’s a small cast and everyone does their part.

Overall, I enjoyed the film even though I felt bored at times. The reveal at the end was predictable in that Nolan always wants to go for that big trippy reveal. If anything, this film is a good indicator of Nolan’s style and what he’s capable of.

Score: 6/10

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