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Memento - Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Christopher Nolan

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Some memories are best forgotten.

After suffering trauma, Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) now has a rare form of amnesia, preventing him from remembering anything in his short term memory. He forgets the start of the conversation he'll have with you, or where he was going, or whom he's spoken with. To jolt his memory, Leonard writes down fragments of his life on scraps of paper, so when he reads them again he'll remember. He even goes as far as to write the important things he needs to remember on his body.

When Leonard awoke this morning he read his chest: "John G raped and murdered my wife".

Now Leonard knows what he was doing yesterday. But when your mind forgets who you can trust and who is your enemy, how can you ever hope to solve a mystery?

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film thriller crime murder amnesia betrayal

Persons of interest

  • Guy Pearce .... Leonard Shelby
  • Carrie-Anne Moss .... Natalie
  • Joe Pantoliano .... Teddy Gammell
  • Mark Boone Junior .... Burt Hadley
  • Russ Fega .... Waiter
  • Jorja Fox .... Catherine Shelby
  • Stephen Tobolowsky .... Sammy Jankis
  • Harriet Sansom Harris .... Mrs Jankis
  • Thomas Lennon .... Doctor
  • Callum Keith Rennie .... Dodd
  • Kimberly Campbell .... Blonde Whore
  • Marianne Muellerleile .... Emma the Tattooist
  • Larry Holden .... Jimmy Grantz
  • Jonathan Nolan .... Storywriter
  • Christopher Nolan .... Screenwriter
  • Christopher Nolan .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

I have a condition. I can't remember things. Sometimes I walk into a room and has no idea why I'm there. Sometimes I have no idea what I just did. Or where I'm going. Or why. My whole life is a mystery. Leonard Shelby had a wife. I didn't.

Meanwhile, Guy Pearce wanders around with bleached blond hair and a propensity for removing his clothes. As he's buffed up it's quite a nice sight, for those of you who are interested in such things, not that anyone's acting ability should be judged on the strengths of their personal trainer. As a man with a faulty memory, Guy is quite convincing, aided in no small part by the blondness of his tousled locks, but it's when he's in action mode that the intensity really comes out. Just because he won't remember what he's doing or why he did it doesn't mean that he is a wallflower.

As you'd expect with a film about a differently-abled person, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the issue of trust (think back to Hugo Weaving's blind protagonist in Proof) and the morality of manipulating someone who can't know if you are trustworthy. The schemes which people are willing to play out reveal a lot about their characters, especially Natalie. Carrie-Anne Moss brings a hard edge to her performance but never loses touch with the human being's tragic condition: the innate need to love and be loved.

With regards to way the film is cut, well, it's been a while since you'll have seen a film that runs from dénouement to climax to complication to introduction. It's a very clever move and it matches the continual confusion in which Leonard finds himself. You don't know what happened before any event, just what's happening now. It puts you in Leonard's shoes very nicely. It's good to find a film that is willing to manipulate it's audience as strongly as Memento does.

Memento is a great mind-fuck.

I award three bonus points for having a character in a Hollywood film who locks their car.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen 2.35:1

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Adult themes, medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

108 minutes (1:48 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 10 October 2001
DVD rental: 20 February 2002
VHS rental: 20 February 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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