Top Twenty of the Decade #2

Leonard: I can’t remember to forget you

2. Memento (2001)
– Dir. Christopher Nolan

Nolan makes his 3rd appearance, easily the most represented on my list. Memento is the first film of his I watched and it remains my favorite.

It’s another film some might consider one big gimmick with no substance, but that would be grossly underestimating this fine picture. Being told in reverse and flashback/forward in both black & white and color is 100% in service of telling the story, putting you in the same position as the protagonist. You can never really be sure what is going on or what you should be feeling. In fact, 10 years later I still don’t really know what happened… or that I’m really suppose to know.

But, that’s okay because it’s gripping throughout. The entire film kept me on my toes because of my favorite trait a film can have: not knowing what’s going to happen next. In other words, not boring, anything but boring.

I feel I can’t really figure the whole thing out, but that doesn’t diminish my appreciation for the film. I think there is a greater theme here that makes up for the confusion. A great idea about our perceptions, our memories, how they make us who we are and why they can never really be trusted. Reality is an illusion, created to give our lives meaning.

Such a masterpiece.  It’s more than just a film to puzzle over because of its plot device, but a film to spawn philosophical debate about our existence. Maybe that sounds too deep. Well, there’s still plenty of suspense, simple but riveting suspense (trying to find a pen or figure out who’s chasing whom) and wonderful acting (underrated Guy Pearce).

I have a feeling Nolan will find a way on to another list 10 years from now, and I can’t wait to find out how.

2 responses to “Top Twenty of the Decade #2

  1. Pingback: Top Twenty Films of the Decade – Recap | Shooting the Script

  2. Dead on. Absolutely. I love this movie for the same reasons. My favorite part of Nolan’s film making is that he is not afraid of using gimmicky things in service of his stories. He’s got no fear of dramatic devices. Love it.

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