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Review: Memento

JonKatz posted more than 13 years ago | from the -messing-with-your-mind- dept.

Movies 113

Talk about an interactive movie! Christopher Nolan's Memento is the most inventive movie in eons, not as graceful as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but even more intriguing. Memento starts messing with your head from the opening shot, and since you don't dare stop paying attention for even a second, the film pulls you along in a way that's both rare and exciting. Spoilage warning: plot is talked about, but no endings are given away. (Read more.)

Guy Pearce (the uptight ass-kisser in L.A. Confidential ) plays Leonard, a young, guilt-ridden insurance investigator. He's pursuing his the man who raped and murdered his wife, but he has a bizarre inability to form new memories; if he happens upon an important clue, then orders a sandwich or walks around the block, he won't remember what he learned. He calls it a short-term memory disorder. So he frantically tattoos himself with clues, reminders and warnings and scribbles notes on hurriedly-shot Polaroids so he can identify people he already knew, and remember details he's already discovered.

Lenny's life is further complicated by a couple of people who appear to be friends (Joe Pantoliano, now playing the evil Ralphie on The Sopranos, and Carrie-Anne Moss) but who it gradually becomes clear might (or might not) be manipulating Leonard for their own murky reasons.

Leonard, anxious, even desperate, lives in a continuous fight with the outside world, constantly trying to orient himself and make snap judgements about his evolving reality. He is particularly haunted by his callous handling of an insurance claimant who suffered from the same memory disorder. Through Leonard's guile, his company refused the man's genuine claim for compensation. His tattoos and pictures remind of him of what he has done, and help him keep track -- he thinks -- of his wife's killer. He is continually forgetting his interactions with other people, remembering and re-remembering.

Nolan makes things considerably more challenging by running most of the story backwards, so the audience is essentially faced with the same problem Leonard has -- struggling to stay oriented, keep up, check his pictures and notes, and figure out what information is real. His mind replays people,words, memories and clues over and over again, a kind of thinking reflected in the fractured structure of the movie itself. This is an amazing editing and writing feat, weakened only by a mildly cheesy, anti-climactic ending. And the film noir feeling is enhanced by the seedy L.A. neighborhoods and motels the story runs through.

This movie demands a lot of its viewers. Leonard lives in a dizzy, whirling present tense, even as he is constantly in need of repetition, reinforcement and reference.

Memento is like a nightmare from which Leonard and the audience can't awaken. Soon enough, we realize that nothing can be assumed to be as it appears. Leonard is like a fly stuck in flypaper. As much as he struggles, he can't break free. The effect is riveting, Leonard's predicament genuinely frightening. You leave the theater trying hurriedly, along with everyone else, to patch together clues, portents and explanations before you forget them -- just like Leonard. Plan to see this movie at least twice to grasp what you missed the first time.

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Re:Hmm. (1)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#290483)

What, so now I should pay Katz?

I'm sorry, but after Columbine, I don't think I could afford it. :)
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

Re:The audience should be challenged (1)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#290484)

There's a fine line between "think" and "intentionally confuse".

If Hollywood wanted to make me think, they could give me a traditional mystery, with some complex characters and interaction.

If they wanted to, instead, intentionally confuse me, they could run the whole thing backwards.

It sounds like they tried to do both, and put it in a blender for a while. And I'm not sure if I like that yet.

And I have no idea where you get off with the "politically correct" "Steven Seagal movie" bit, but I'm curious. :)
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

Hmm. (2)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#290485)

What a great idea: harrass the audience by not telling them the story in a straightforward manner.

So... if we don't understand it all, can we pay half-price?

Similarly, I'm glad I read your content for free, Katz!
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

Re:The audience should be challenged (2)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#290486)

Yea, you're right. I was, of course, writing a reply to a slashdot review of a movie by Katz, instead of going to see the movie in question.

However, no movie theaters in my area seem to be showing the movie in question, so it seems that it would be unlikely for me to have seen it. I could similarly harangue you to "check the listings in my area before you post a useless reply", but that would be equally pointless.

However, if you think it was a good mystery, then maybe I'll rent it sometime, or even see it in the theater if it catches on the way CTHD did...
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

Sounds Derivative of Tykwer's Winter Sleepers (1)

tadghin (2229) | more than 13 years ago | (#290487)

I haven't seen this movie; first heard of it from an NPR interview with the director. As I heard him talking about a character with no short term memory, I thought "Cool, this must be Tom Tykwer [tykwer-online.de] , the director of Run Lola Run and Winter Sleepers" (since Winter Sleepers is all about a character having no long term memory.

Winter Sleepers was just recently released in the US, but I think it was actually filmed before Run Lola Run.

I'll have to see Memento and see how it compares. Those of you who've seen Memento ought to check out Winter Sleepers. Like Run Lola Run, it's a top-notch film.

Re:Cheezy ending? (2)

GrenDel Fuego (2558) | more than 13 years ago | (#290488)

I think it depends.

Are you referring to the ending that happened at the end of the movie, or the ending that happened at the begining? :)

Best Movie I've Ever Seen (1)

Plutor (2994) | more than 13 years ago | (#290489)

I can honestly say that this was the best movie I've ever seen. Jon thinks that the ending was anti-climactic and cheesy, but in fact it was a daring twist on Leonard's relationships with everyone in the film. You think you know who everyone is, but then every 20 minutes you have to look back and think "now why did he do this, really?" For the past two weeks, I've been thinking about the movie and how complex and profession it was. I tell strangers to see this movie. See this movie.

Re:Really Obscure? (1)

rsidd (6328) | more than 13 years ago | (#290490)

Odd. Here in Paris I saw it quite a while ago at a major cinema hall. It is still running at some smaller places.

Definitely worth seeing. And probably Katz was hoping for a more guessable ending, or a so-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after thing.

Keep in mind that the ending of the movie is really the beginning of the story: the movie goes backward in time so you have to figure out how it all began chronologically. The ending is hard to guess, and makes perfect sense.

Really Obscure? (2)

Bitscape (7378) | more than 13 years ago | (#290491)

This being the first I had heard of this film, I was intrigued by Katz's review, so I went to search Yahoo [yahoo.com] to find out when it was playing. I figured that if Carrie-Anne Moss was in it, the film couldn't be too obscure.

Not a single one of the nearby multiplexes is running it. WTF? A more extensive search revealed that it is in fact playing the art house downtown, as well as one in one of the smaller theatres in an adjacent suburb.

<rampant over-zealous conspiracy theory>
Could this be yet another attempt by the corporate power elite to keep the really good stuff away from the American masses? Every other review I looked at said it was great, yet they seem to be intent on hiding it away. Oh well. I guess I should have expected such.
</rampant over-zealous conspiracy theory>

Personally, I think I'll make the drive out to watch it.

This was deliberate (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290492)


The director -- citing the Blair Witch Hype..said he didn't want a traditional marketing campaign with the websites, etc...

Good question (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290493)



I don't know. One, I think people are tired of Hollywood formulas.
Two, I think it made clear that the marial arts stuff..the Matrix did this too ..is deeper than just action/adventure..it had a creative and soulful quality to it..But I suspect it has been overhyped, mostly in contrast to the usual sludge they crank out..

It would be hard... (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290494)


to even say what the ending was..I had my squawks with it, but I too thought it was a brilliant movie..But not a perfect one..

New one for me.. (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290495)


Does this game move back and forth in reality?

Best way... (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290496)


...to go see this movie is with a group of friends..you will be arguing about it for hours.

Please ..turn it on! Or get CyberPatrol (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290497)



I hate it when your blocking software doesn't it work? You can also get Cyberpatrol..I'm blocked there as well..(CyberNanny too)

The Usual Suspects.. (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290498)


..is one of the great movies I've ever seen..I actually didn't mention it deliberately, as I don't think it compares as well to that movie..specially the ending. Now that was an ending, when you scan the posters behind the desk?

Actually no....It is more relevant than the Matrix (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290499)


IMDB hasn't asked me (Slashdot has) and I do think it's a geek culture movie, even more so than the Matrix, actually...You obviously haven't seen it..

Shuttlecocky.. (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290500)



..definitely would kick the pants off of me..whew..

Usual Suspects Vs. Momento (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290501)

A bunch of people have e-mailed me about whether the Usual Suspects was better than Momento..The two are among the best movies I've seen in years, but I guess I'd go with US..Be interested in other opinions tho...

Matrix and Momento.. (1)

JonKatz (7654) | more than 13 years ago | (#290502)



More e-mail about whether the Matrix or Momento relate more to geek culture..I vote for Momento actually on that score..

Some interteresting facts.... and the trailer. (2)

Tide (8490) | more than 13 years ago | (#290503)

The main inspiration the writer used was the fact that he was mugged. That instant feeling of hate, anger, and fear he felt those first 15 minutes. He said he wondered what if... what if that feeling never went away. What if that was your motivation to find the perp...

Ive also heard that at film festivals (this movie has been finished and played overseas for almost a year) that many major studios went up to the actors and told them what a brilliant film it was. When asked if they would pick it up for American distribution, the comments always went along the line of "This movie is too complex for the American audience". Guess these are the same guys who told Soderberg that noone would go see Traffic.

And for a shameless plug to the trailer I did, find it here [apple.com] . You'll need QuickTime, and yes, I am a company man.

This sig is non-existent (1)

Speed Racer (9074) | more than 13 years ago | (#290504)


Of course, it will make a lot more sense if you are familar all things Shuttlecocky and especially SMC's inimitable style.

It's one of SMC's better works and kicks the pants off of anything Katz has ever done

Do you self a favor: hop on over to The Brunching Shuttlecocks [brunching.com] and visit the Self-Made Critics review [brunching.com] of Memento.

Re:Not another review... (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 13 years ago | (#290505)

technology geek culture

Why do you think that is the only subspecies of Homo Geekus the site targets?

Clean Slate (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 13 years ago | (#290506)

So, what you're saying is someone made a hipper version of the bomb Clean Slate [imdb.com] ? What's the big deal?

Re:The audience should be challenged (1)

DeadFish (11364) | more than 13 years ago | (#290507)

If Hollywood wanted to make me think, they could give me a traditional mystery, with some complex characters and interaction.
If they wanted to, instead, intentionally confuse me, they could run the whole thing backwards.
It sounds like they tried to do both, and put it in a blender for a while. And I'm not sure if I like that yet.

Of course, you might want to see the movie before determining whether or not you like what they've done.

I went to it expecting to see an exercise in style, but it just wound up being a well-made mystery that used a strange narrative form (imho) perfectly.

Also, there's nothing excessively confusing about this movie. Like any mystery, it offers pieces and clues that one must eventually piece together to figure out what's going on. There's a lot going on, a lot of questions pop up, the viewer must try to figure out what all is going on, much like any good mystery. However, I wasn't overwhelmed by them. There's never too much going on for the viewer to comprehend. Sure, as scenes open, you don't know how the character got there or what's happening, and it fits, because neither does the character. But, the questions of the immediate situation are answered in the next scene, and other questions are answered as the film progresses.

Sure, i went expecting a novelty film all about the device of the narrative form, but as it turned out, it's also a well written, well executed mystery that handles the device quite suitably, and there's some superb performances in there to boot. It's no more rational to criticize a movie you've not seen solely on the basis of the narrative device than it is to praise any film with a gimmick. I realize it's an elusive concept here, but see the damn movie before you criticize it

Re:Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger obsession (1)

DeadFish (11364) | more than 13 years ago | (#290508)

This will sound like flamebait, but why are people so obsessed with HDCT? It's a good movie, but it's not the martial arts movie to end all movies.

I walked out of the theatre with the impression that I'd seen the best martial arts movie ever. I must have been toning down my expectations by virtue of seeing it in a chain cineplex, because about a week later I decided to watch my Fong Sai Yuk and Fong Sai Yuk II DVDs, and was reminded that there's a lot out there that kicks CTHD's pants.

Incidentally, if you haven't seen Legend of Fong Sai Yuk, see it. As soon as humanly possible. CTHD's a remarkably good movie, yes. But Fong Sai Yuk's utterly freakin' brilliant.

Of course, this is just one man's opinion. It's just that this opinion happens to be absolutely accurate.

Re:The audience should be challenged (1)

DeadFish (11364) | more than 13 years ago | (#290509)

However, no movie theaters in my area seem to be showing the movie in question, so it seems that it would be unlikely for me to have seen it. I could similarly harangue you to "check the listings in my area before you post a useless reply", but that would be equally pointless.

Trouble is, this movie hasn't had a release so much as it's been on tour. This is because it's allegedly being distributed by the filmmaker and not a distribution company... at least right now anyway. In all likelihood, the buzz surrounding this film'll insure it a proper distribution sometime this summer.

Re:Really Obscure? (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 13 years ago | (#290510)

Could this be yet another attempt by the corporate power elite to keep the really good stuff away from the American masses?

No, it's probably more a case of the studio thinking it's not likely to make money (after all it might confuse the poor audience), so they're giving it limited release to see whether it will take off or not. My wife went to see it Friday when it opened in Chicago, and she loved it. I'd say make the drive, 'cos you may not get an opportunity to see it nearby in a theater.

Re:Where are the links? (2)

rvr (15565) | more than 13 years ago | (#290511)

interestingly try http://otnemem.com/ [otnemem.com]

trailer links are (3)

rvr (15565) | more than 13 years ago | (#290512)

here [rottentomatoes.com]

Re:Hmm. (2)

Mudhiker (15850) | more than 13 years ago | (#290513)

Well, I just got back from seeing it 5 minutes ago and while it isn't your typical hollywood shoot em up cliche flick it is pretty mindless...just in a different way. You'll know what I mean when you see it. Not a terribly inspirational or even thought-provoking film, but it stands out from the drivel nonetheless.

This movie has been around since late last year. (1)

Mike McCune (18136) | more than 13 years ago | (#290514)

It has been touring the film festivals art houses and is finally starting to get attention. Maybe it will finally get wide release. I haven't seen it yet but I am going to see it today at the local (Chicago) art house theatre.

www.musicboxtheatre.com

memento short story, trailer, and chronology (3)

Silmaril (19015) | more than 13 years ago | (#290515)

Here's the original short story [esquire.com] that inspired the movie, by Jonathan Nolan. It's very different from the movie and in some ways it's better. Read it if you get the chance - it gives away nothing about the movie that you couldn't deduce from the Memento trailer [movie-list.com] .

The second time I saw Memento, I brought a pad of paper and took copious notes. Here are the results: a chronological list of Memento scenes [joshpurinton.com] . Warning: SPOILERS there.

-Josh

Not if I were you (2)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 13 years ago | (#290518)

That quite frankly couldn't have been much more annoying. I wouldn't follow the link if I were you.

--

Anti -climatic ending? (1)

PeterMiller (27216) | more than 13 years ago | (#290519)

Don't listen to Jon, the ending is fine, the movie is great, and I'm pissed at the studios for NOT releasing this amazing movie to a wider audience!!

Your theory is correct (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 13 years ago | (#290520)

Seeing as how this is one of my favorite movies of all time, I'm a bit biased - but if the general public had a clue how brilliant this film is consider the ramifications! What if another Godzilla (the matt broderick one) were to happen!? With such an enlightened audience it wouldn't make a dime! Can't let that happen - no, no.

When I saw that Katz was doing the review ... (2)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 13 years ago | (#290521)

I asked myself: "I wonder how many sentences it will take before he uses the word interactive?" Congrats, Jon: it's a new record!

Cheers,
IT

Re:Cheezy ending? (2)

dozer (30790) | more than 13 years ago | (#290522)

I thought the ending was brilliant. Just when I thought the movie couldn't get better, the ending neatly tied the whole thing together.

Did you even watch this movie?? The ending is carefully designed to tie together nothing at all. Instead it asks, "how do you know what you know? Can you completely trust anything?"

There are a number of possible "truths" to explain this story. You probably just chose to believe in the most plesant one.

Links to first 8 min of movie, and plot theories (2)

Yumpee (32901) | more than 13 years ago | (#290524)

The first 8 minutes of the movie can be streamed in Real Player or Windows Media Player from
http://www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0 ,1263,958510,00.html [ifilm.com] .

The official site of the movie is at www.otnemem.com [otnemem.com] (nice touch). It has some details which are probably better learned after watching the movie rather than before.

The IMDb message boards for Memento [imdb.com] have a lot of discussion (SPOILER alert!!) about the possible plotlines. Reading the posts here after watching the movie the first time was quite enlightening ...

Coming to Minnesota? (1)

Racher (34432) | more than 13 years ago | (#290525)

If anyone knows if/when this movie is coming to minnesota, please let me know. Thank you. I have looked all over and i can't find it playing here.
...and I'm not sure we should trust this Kyle Sagan either.

Re:Hmm. (1)

doggo (34827) | more than 13 years ago | (#290526)

Well, if it sounds too challenging for ya, go see Shrek.

Good old USA:"Please don't offer me any challenging entertainment, then I might have to think outside my little suburban box. Three's Company & Alladin are all I need."

I am so sick and tired of the pablum Hollywood foists on us. There's certainly a place in the world for mindless entertainment, but could Hollywood offer a variety of levels of intellectual engagement?

And for Pete's sake, no more remakes of old movies, live action cartoons, or comic book movies!

If we want to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or La Femme Nikita, we can watch the originals (with subtitles preferably/if necessary). If we want to see Josie & the Pussycats, we can turn on the Cartoon Network and watch the cartoon. And if we want to enjoy the X-Men, we can read the comics. Even adaptations of books are redundant, we can read the damn books. If people are too lazy, illiterate, or too pressed for time to read the book, then too bad, they should miss out on that particular story.

How about some original content? There must be thousands of original screenplays languishing on peoples' hard drives out there.

Re:Cheezy ending? (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#290527)

Heheh, good point.

<SPOILER>
I was talking about the ending at the end, where you find out who has really been jerking him around.
</SPOILER>
--
Patrick Doyle

Cheezy ending? (2)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#290530)

I thought the ending was brilliant. Just when I thought the movie couldn't get better, the ending neatly tied the whole thing together.

I can't bring myself to say what the ending was, even with a spoiler alert, because I don't want to ruin it for anyone. Let's just say I'll definitely be seeing this movie again soon.
--
Patrick Doyle

Re:Cheezy ending? (2)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#290531)

DO NOT READ THIS if you haven't seen the movie.

<SPOILER>
What I mean is that the movie revolves around the question of who is reliable and who is messing with Leonard, and the ending--that Leonard had been messing with himself the whole time--was really the ultimate answer to that question.

The movie was just a succession of "wow, that explains it" moments, and the final one was more of a "wow, that explains all those explanations". Totally brilliant.
</SPOILER>

--
Patrick Doyle

Re:Cheezy ending? (2)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#290532)

Sorry to reply twice...

I didn't mean so much that the ending tied the plot together. I meant that it tied the movie together thematically. It was the period at the end of a well-crafted sentence.
--
Patrick Doyle

Re:Cheezy ending? (spoiler!) (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#290534)

Well actually the first time he mentioned the insulin thing (the insurance claimee injecting his wife) I was immedately asking and how exactly do you know that? The woman is dead and her husband cant remember a thing. For all you know, she did it to herself. Later when we see him doing it, I'm like uh huh! I knew it, the only way he could know is because he did it, and then immediately made up a way to incorporate this warning into his 'habits' so that he wouldn't do it again. Very well done.

Re:Best Movie I've Ever Seen (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#290535)

I love the movie. Fantastic, but you dont have to play a movie backward to get this effect (although it is definitely an excellent way of doing it). I am reminded of spy movies in particular. You watch a spy flick and you are constantly wondering why someone did something. You have to put aside the things you know and think about the things the characters know. Then as more information is revealed to you, you have to go backwards in your mind and think about what you thought a character's motives were and reassess them.

I don't agree about the ending (2)

Illserve (56215) | more than 13 years ago | (#290538)

It's not cheesy and it's anti-clmactic. So much happens in the end that I'm wondering if you missed something.

Well that's your loss (2)

Illserve (56215) | more than 13 years ago | (#290539)

As a previous replier indicated, your keen powers of prediction have failed you. Maybe you shouldn't trust your pre-judgements so much.

Weird... (2)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 13 years ago | (#290540)

It was out in England AGES ago (pre-Christmas, I think) and got quite a bit of hype and a reasonably wide release.

filty critic (1)

ffatTony (63354) | more than 13 years ago | (#290541)

why does slashdot bother to review movies when a link [bigempire.com] from their site leads to a critic who already has reviewed the same film (and BONUS: that person is not Katz)

JonKatz? Didn't he set up us the bomb?

Unusual Suspects should be the name of this flick. (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#290542)

Usual suspects sucked too.

Sorry but cutting film with scissors does not a mystery make.

Re:Usual Suspects Vs. Momento (1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 13 years ago | (#290544)

fyi, it is Memento, not Momento. They mean two totally different things.

Memento: A hint, suggestion, token, or memorial, to awaken memory

Momento:Spanish for moment--a minute portion of time.

In response to your question... Well, I haven't seen Memento yet, it hasn't been released in florida (yet). But I have seen Usual Suspects, and liked it quite well. If anyone doubts Benicio Del Torro's acting, they should see him in this movie. Quite a contrast to Traffic or The Way of The Gun.

Re:Really Obscure? (1)

bonoboy (98001) | more than 13 years ago | (#290545)

Guy Pearce was interviewed on radio here and he said that the financiers couldn't find a distributor for it, so had to set up their own company to do it. Good on them, they probably made just as much cash on a smaller circuit without Paramount behind them as they would have on a bigger circuit *with* them. And maybe they can stay independent for their next release and pull in even more!

Incidentally, I haven't seen the disorder discussed yet. It's more than likely anterograde amnesia. Normal "Spelling"* amnesia means you have no long-term memories, usually past a given point - take a handy car accident as plot device here. Anterograde means you can't *form* memories.

There's a famous sufferer of this disease called simply 'M'** who has to be told what's going on every day. This was a decision made years ago (he may be dead by now, I'm not sure.) He woke up the day after surgery on his kidneys or somesuch and every day's been the same since, vis a vis Groundhog Day.

The really interesting part is that he learns skills very well. Like they gave him a "rearrange the hoops on the sticks without changing the order" puzzle every day for two weeks, and at the end of it, he could do it in seconds, though every time he swore he'd "never seen a puzzle like this in my life!"

*As in Aaron

**Could be 'S', I can't remember:)

Re:Movie world time lag (1)

steeef (98372) | more than 13 years ago | (#290546)

it was released 3/16 in LA, 3/30 in "select cities".. too bad eugene oregon isn't a select city. i really want to see this movie, but it looks like the closest place is seattle, about 5 hours away

Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger obsession (1)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 13 years ago | (#290547)

This will sound like flamebait, but why are people so obsessed with HDCT? It's a good movie, but it's not the martial arts movie to end all movies.

The plot is the ancient "You killed my master now I will kill you". The action scenes are pretty standard. They're even a bit tame when you compare them to something like Corey Yuen's Hero.

So please stop your obsession with a slightly above-average movie.

Reqiuem for a Dream (1)

renai42 (105349) | more than 13 years ago | (#290548)

hey slashdot readers - want a movie that challenges the way you think and feel about your life? Watch "Requiem for a Dream" by director Darren Aranofsky.

Now that's a movie.

Re:Really Obscure? (1)

SimCash (107073) | more than 13 years ago | (#290549)

"Could this be yet another attempt by the corporate power elite to keep the really good stuff away from the American masses? "

Only if you think that corporations deliberatly sell people what they will buy, rather than what the corporation thinks would be good for the masses. Oh, wait, corporations DO sell what people will buy (as determined by focus groups and targeted marketing).

Of course, Joe Sixpack (in-bred cousin of Jerry Springer), does tend to have an eclectic taste leaning towards kung-fooey movies (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) and away from anything that makes you think.

Re:What happened to the ASCII art filter? (1)

marx (113442) | more than 13 years ago | (#290550)

True, but why should you filter away ASCII art? Isn't this exactly the same as filtering software for the web, which filter on keywords such as "breasts" and "sex", and accidentally filter away supposedly "good" content? And why should anyone determine what's good and bad, I thought the policy was to not censor at all? I think it's quite hypocritical to cry foul when someone wants to censor the web, and then do exactly the same thing here. You can never get rid of this kind of stuff anyway. When moderation was introduced, the only thing that happened was that the sophistication level dropped. So instead of MEEPT we get goatse.cx. Woo, nice job.

Definitely worth seeing if you are fully awake... (1)

marick (144920) | more than 13 years ago | (#290551)

I just saw this movie last night. Momento is 1)confusing, 2)disturbing, and 3)worth seeing, but only if you're prepared to concentrate hard.

I went with my parents, and at the end, we had an interesting conversation with this other group
of people about what had happened and what it all meant. Definitely that kind of movie, and worth
the 7.50.

Incidentally, before I went to bed, I was convinced that there would be a Slashdot article about it, and I searched and searched, but to no avail. I guess I'm ahead of the curve this time (albeit by only 8 hours or so).

-marick

The movie web site (1)

TheOneEyedMan (151703) | more than 13 years ago | (#290552)

You can find more about the movie (a little more anyway) at the movie's web site. www.otnemem.com (memento backwards get it?)

Actually, No beginnings should be given away. (1)

taliver (174409) | more than 13 years ago | (#290553)

And a bit late with the review, aren't we?

Re:Where are the links? (2)

taliver (174409) | more than 13 years ago | (#290554)

And, make sure you're looking for "Memento" as in "Something to help you remember" instead of "Momento" which is something like a little bit of Momentum.

(BTW, I'm still calling it "Momento", though, since that's what I thought I saw when I read it the first time.)

Re:Hmm. (2)

Antipop (180137) | more than 13 years ago | (#290555)

I'm excited about going and seeing this movie. Why? Because I'm sick of all the bullshit mindless movies that center around how many pretty explosions you can fit into a certain timespan. There is a time and place for mindless entertainment, but don't you like to think every once in a while?

-antipop

If only it was playing in theatres. (1)

DigitalDragon (194314) | more than 13 years ago | (#290556)

There are only 2 theatres in Toronto that show that movie. What's up with that? On the other note, just watched Bridget Jones' Diary - great movie. Really.

Re:New one for me.. (1)

Daemosthenes (199490) | more than 13 years ago | (#290560)

The theme for the game is that you are "The Nameless One" - a freakish scarred being who cannot die. In fact, you first wake up in the game to be greeted by a talking skull telling you that you've come back to life once more, yet you cannot remember anything. Throughout the game, you find clues, and other secrets which sheds more light on your past life, or past lives. For example, at one point you wander into a cache of information for yourself that you constructed ages ago. The game doesnt move backwards through time, but there are flashbacks, memories, and other interesting developments that really make it seem like you are figuring out who or what you are. Quite a fun game - try it out some time.

Admit it JK (1)

The Akond of Swat (205939) | more than 13 years ago | (#290561)

As usual, you're just throwing up any old movie or book review you can think of, whether it's timely or relevant or not. Usually Not. As far as Slashdot "asking you", how does that work? "Hey, Jon, can you turn out another of those hyperventilated, school-boy assesments of something at least several months out of date?" I agree with the poster, you should stick such stuff somewhere else instead .

Re:Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger obsession (2)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 13 years ago | (#290562)

Well, my opinion about the CTHD movie craze is this:

It's a martial arts movie, obviously, but the plot is a bit deeper than "My name is somethingorother, you killed my master/father/family/dog, prepare to die". There's love, friendship, honor, stuff like that, and none of the "you big-muscled man, me helpless bimbo, me want you" that passes as love on mostly every other action flick.

Another reason I loved the movie was the natural scenery they used as background. Very impressive. I never knew China had such beautiful forests, deserts and mountains.

And I'd have to disagree about the action scenes being standard. They had a semi-mythological aura (or whatever you could call it) that's not present in movies other than old Ninja movies and the like. Or "The Matrix", of course.

Maybe that's the reason people like both movies. They both have heroes doing impossible stuff (instead of nearly impossible, such as the stunts in movies like "Mission Impossible" or "The replacements"). And deep down we all want to do things no one else can.


Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Re:Hmm. (1)

Vann_v2 (213760) | more than 13 years ago | (#290563)

You seem pretty angry. Maybe I can fix that. First, challenging is different from itentionally confusing. Take a movie like 2001. It was challenging, but it wasn't intentionally confusion.

Second, you talk about original content. While I agree with the nonsense about redoing things like Psycho and Josie and The Pussycats, not all adaptations of a novel are poorly done. Take, again, 2001. It presented an already good novel in a different way, while retaining the ideas presented in that novel. That it what an adaptation of a novel should be like.

And, finally, please, don't talk like everyone in the USA is a moron. I live there, and I know it isn't true.

Re:Hmm. (1)

clacke (214199) | more than 13 years ago | (#290564)

You didn't get it, did you? If you do understand everything, you should get your money back! ;-)

Where are the links? (2)

ageitgey (216346) | more than 13 years ago | (#290565)

With all the talk about planted web-sites and other guerilla-advertising tactics, it is refreshing to do a google search for Momento. I couldn't find any relevent results. Same even with the imdb.

The question is, is this really better for the movie? Do planted sites hurt the legitamacy of a film or does not having them just make it harder to compete?

Re:Weird... (2)

Schwarzchild (225794) | more than 13 years ago | (#290566)

Yes, I think you're right. I seem to recall Ebert reviewing it on his television show several months ago and it caught my attention because it was intriguing that of someone with no capacity to form new memories trying to track down his wife's killer. Yet it only showed up here in the U.S. last week.

One warning. The film is really short like an hour long.

Re:Hmm. (1)

nessus42 (230320) | more than 13 years ago | (#290567)

Clearly you don't understand. Having the movie run backwards forces you to perceive the world the same way that the main character does -- he doesn't know what happened immediately before the current scene, and neither do you. It's important to the mystery that you don't know what happened previously. If you know things that the main character used to know, but has now forgotten, there would be no mystery. The movie is a tour de force for being able to fracture time as it does and still end up being completely coherent and a wonderful mystery.

The disorder sufferred by the main character is actually a real disorder, and is fairly accurately described in the film. This movie gives you a real feeling for what it might be like to have a disorder such as this. Time becomes fractured and your existance is a series of unconnected vignettes that might as well be backwards as forwards, since you've lots all sense of time over the long hall.

In doing this, the film is not only a complete mindfuck, which is always an entertaining thing, but it also illuminating on some pretty deep philosophical issues.

If you don't like to be mindfucked and you don't like to think philosophy, stay home. If you like either of these things, you will LOVE this movie. It's the best movie of the next three years.

|>oug

Not a neatly wrapped ending (1)

Ringwraith (230940) | more than 13 years ago | (#290568)

This was a good movie, but I don't think it should be compared to Sixth Sense or Usual Suspects (which it has been in some reviews). The endings of both those movies snap the entire movie into focus, like putting the last piece in a puzzle. Memento leaves as many questions unanswered as it answers. Still, worth seeing. A very original idea and the backwards thing works pretty well.

Re:Movie world time lag (1)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 13 years ago | (#290569)

I saw it on an Air France flight back to the US a couple of months ago. I watched it two-and-a-half times, and I still don't have the entire story straight. That's a REALLY good movie!

Re:spoiler discussion (1)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 13 years ago | (#290570)

What he does at the end of the movie completely changes the perspective of the entire movie up to that point. Seeing it the first time is a complete shock and you have to basically watch the entire movie again keeping the ending in mind to fully understand what's going on. One of the advantages of telling the story backwards is that things later in the film affect things earlier in the film, and Momento uses this very effectively.

Movie world time lag (1)

crankie (243627) | more than 13 years ago | (#290571)

Is this another of those rare occasion where we in Europe have actually seen a film well before the US (like with "Snatch"). Or is it just a ridiculously late review?

Or, for those of you who've seen the film, is it life imitating art?

-

Different release dates then (1)

crankie (243627) | more than 13 years ago | (#290572)

Over here in Ireland, it was released sometime last October. And about two weeks later, it even made it out of the tiny little art-house cinema and into the main-stream one.

Go figure.
-

Re:I don't agree about the ending (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 13 years ago | (#290573)

I agree with not agreeing about the ending. :-)

When I first saw it and walked out of the theater, I felt like Katz did -- it seemed kind of a let-down. The friends who saw the film with me felt the same way. However, after a few minutes of discussing the movie and the ending, we realized that we all had very different takes on the implications it had for the other parts of the movie! There was a lot to discover, a lot to debate, and I'm sure, a lot that would be rediscovered on a second viewing.

It's definitely a movie to see. It's by far the best I've seen in a while, and you should go see it too.

Cinema Employee (1)

noz (253073) | more than 13 years ago | (#290574)

I work for a cinema in Sydney, Australia, and we're running the print for Memento, and it is bizzare. Some people (the crowd we get are usually nice) have approached me after seeing the film, and one guy said: "That movie is a f'ing scam! If I don't see it again, I'll never understand a f'ing thing." - and yes, that was in jest.

Re:Cheezy ending? (spoiler!) (1)

scamper (264045) | more than 13 years ago | (#290576)

My question requires that I name a spoiler to ask it. So...

> ...the ending neatly tied the whole thing together...

Okay, I think I disagree. As much as I liked the movie, isn't the fact that [spoiler] he intentionally misremembered the insulin story a deus ex machina? The fact that it's presented to the audience as fact is a narrative flaw, even if this mental construction was done out of shock. [/spoiler]

I've been known to miss a detail, so don't flame me. I want the story to work! But don't pull a "oh, by the way, this one part we made up" at the last second. That's a cheat. It's inconsistent. The rest wasn't a cheat, which is why that detail stands out.

Re:Hmm. (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290577)

And damn, this movie was GREAT.
Too bad it's not getting the Tv advertising or the studio support it needs to go in a really wide release- most of the major theaters around me aren't even going to show it, and I had to go see it in New York. It cost me 10 bucks to get into the city, about 3 bucks for sub fare and other expenses, and 10 bucks for a ticket. And you know what? I would have been willing to pay more.
This movie is not only a brilliant reworking of the whole suspense/detective genre, but it's also emotionally wrenching. There were a few scenes that were just heartbreaking, and I tihnk everyone can identify with Leonard to some extent- the feeling of waking, of losing important thoughts before they can be recorded- and of a past self determining things for the future self- sometimes without the future self-being aware of it...

Re:The audience should be challenged (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290578)

The movie is not confusing at all, and indeed it sometimes it's fault is that it lays out the whole backwards things a little TOO obviously. This aint "Hollywood" either. "Hollywood" never could have come up with a film like this. The whole backwards thing is perfect- it fits in exactly with Leonard's character and his medical condition, and never becomes just a cheap gimick.

Re:spoiler discussion (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290579)

It's neither. In fact, by the end, WHO killed his wife is not really the important part at all. His wife's death has nothing to do with the "shock" part of the ending, and that's what's so powerful about it. The realization is instead almost entirely psychological- an insight into character, not just the unwinding of a "trick" plot, or a pulling off of a cheesy mask.

Re:Right up there.. (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290580)

I think the ending is good because it is NOT what you expect: is it not a revealing of some trick secret, like that Lenny is really a ghost, or that the murderer is.. so and so... Lenny really does have the condition he claims he does. No silly masks are pulled off.

If you go into it hoping that you'll be getting a Fight Club or 6th Sense type jolt, you will feel disappointed- because this movie doesn't do that. It does something new: a much more subtle and psychological tying up of loose ends. It really makes you question not just all the facts in the movie, but also your own moral sense, the coherency of your own memories and intentions. And that's why it was worthwhile- not just because you felt so goosed that it tricked you.

It grows on you too. After first seeing it, I liked it a great deal. But I kept coming back to it (not just the ending either) and just HAD to see it again (which, by the way, is an entirely different experience. All sorts of new realizations, like Lenny clenching hsi fist at one point, or Teddy joking that they should steal Dodd's car)

Re:Not another review... (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290581)

I disagree. The movie does have it's puzzles, but they're not really there just to jazz you when you find them out. In this case the puzzles really say something insightful about the characters: they let you experience Lenny's condition in a way you couldn't have if the movie went forwards, or if you knew things that Lenny didn't. I think the movie is a character study as much as a suspense/mystery. And plenty of things in it were artful and even really moving. Lenny's discussion of how he can't heal, or his experience with the escort come to mind...

Re:The question is... (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290582)

Yes, there indeed IS a Sammy Jankis. The movie answers that question explicitly, and the other questions surrounding it.

Re:trailer links are (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290583)

Yeah- you don't have to see it twice to understand what happened. Nothing is a "trick" like that, and the plot is clear by the end. What you're left totally unsure about is how to FEEL about what happened, because the movie shows it to you in a way that makes you question any simple judgement you might have made abotu the various characters. Normally, in a frontwards movie, if a character does something "good" at the beggining and later turns out to be bad at the end- we condemn them. But here, the "good" character we get accustomed to in the beggining is actually the end result of events, not simply someone who was themselves tricking us about who they were. It's really a new insight on people. There are lots of new things you catch on a re-viewing, but because they deal with references to the past, not the future, you don't feel like they were "hidden" from you.

Re:It would be hard... (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290584)

Yeah, it is hard to say what it was, because it would make no sense without seeing the movie to understand why its important. The revelations at the end aren't the sorts of things you could shout out and spoil the mystery of the whole movie like you could in Fight Club or the 6th Sense. Even though the movie sounds like a search for his wife's killer, finding out who killed his wife is NOT the climax- it's not even as important as some of the other stuff that goes on, which is far more complicated and linked to the develpoment of characters, not just "Mr. Green, in the conservatory, with the revolver."

sure sure (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290585)

If only you can be cynical the earliest, you can beat the crowd hunh? A sort of "first post!" of hip-to-above-it-all-ness. I saw it, and I don't "know what you mean." I thought it was not only inventive, but actually fleshed out a unique character in a unique way, giving you lots to think about regarding the self, how memories fit into who "we" are, and the limits of moral responsibility.

Re:Really Obscure? (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 13 years ago | (#290586)

Indeed, there's nothing about the ending that was hidden in the beggining. If you think about it, you always knew WHAT and BY WHO- you just didn't know WHY?

Not another review... (1)

micje (302653) | more than 13 years ago | (#290587)

Please, can't Katz post movie reviews on IMDB? I mean, it's not like Memento has anything to do with technology geek culture, like The Matrix. Anyway, for those of you who haven't seen it, it's basically a puzzle movie. If you like puzzles, you'll love this one. For me, I'd sum it up like this: Clever idea, decent execution, but nothing more than that. 6/10.

Re:Actually no....It is more relevant than the Mat (1)

micje (302653) | more than 13 years ago | (#290588)

Well, OK, could /. please stop asking you to review movies? If Memento is a geek culture movie, it's only because it's a puzzle movie. It's intellectually challenging (at least the first thirty minutes) and geeks like intellectual challenges. Even geeks who dislike art can appreciate the logical puzzles in this movie. But that's not really a good reason to review it. Memento doesn't raise any deep philosophical questions, especially compared to The Matrix (even if these questions were old ones). You obviously haven't seen it...

Re:Not another review... (1)

micje (302653) | more than 13 years ago | (#290589)

I don't, but I do expect (and, usually, find) some coherence in the articles that appear on /. If a story's not having something to do with either technology or geek culture is no reason for refusing it, then what is?

Re:Thank god for DVDs! (1)

cheinonen (318646) | more than 13 years ago | (#290590)

Um, this isn't from the director of The Usual Suspects. The Usual Suspects is by Bryan Singer, who also directed The X-Men last summer. Memento is by Christopher Nolan, who directed some little movie I've never heard of last year. Nolan's brother also wrote the story that the screenplay for Memento was based on as well. It's definately not by the director of The Usual Suspects, though.

I finally saw this last night (2)

cheinonen (318646) | more than 13 years ago | (#290591)

and still am not sure how everything finished up. I'll definately be watching the movie again in the next day or two. I'd been waiting for weeks for it to open here and went as soon as I was able to. As much as I loved Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Traffic last year, this movie did more for me than any movie since Fight Club or American Beauty.

As far as this not playing in the local multiplex, if this movie (with a confusing plot, no stars, an unknown director) had opened wide, it would have died fast since it's hard to market. When American Beauty opened a couple years ago, it started in small theaters, built up word of mouth from people, kept selling out like crazy, then expanded where it was showing once they knew that people had heard about the movie and it would succeed. If Memento keeps getting tons of people to showings (and since you really need to see it twice, I'm sure it will), it might eventually expand to larger theaters after more people have heard of it. Crouching Tiger even followed this same path. It's used by studios all the time to open movies that might not open well if they start wide, but by starting small, they can build momemtum and then become a success. If it's not playing where you live yet, it will get there, but I know the feeling of waiting. I drove 4 hours to see Crouching Tiger early last year.

Re:Download (1)

All Purpose Troll (321573) | more than 13 years ago | (#290592)

Good god, you suck. You couldn't even put in enough spaces to hide the URL correctly. Bitch.

Torment anybody? (1)

dust2dust (322329) | more than 13 years ago | (#290593)

This plot seems vaguely reminiscent of the cult classic game Planescape:Torment. I guess that makes the film all the more intriguing to me. I personally think that Torment is the BEST game I have ever, ever played (I REALLY stress the word 'best'). If the movie resembles that plot in any fashion, well, I guess kudos to them for picking out a gem of a storyline. Sorry for those of you that haven't played the game. It's kind of an inside thing. If you played the game, you know what I mean...So go get the game: It's only $9.99 in some stores. I can almost guarantee that it will be the best $10 you ever spent : )

SALAD BARF! DELI-DUMP SUSPECT NABBED (1)

Marco Arellano (443512) | more than 13 years ago | (#290595)

SALAD BARF! DELI-DUMP SUSPECT NABBED

A gross-out gourmet was caught dumping human waste on a Midtown salad bar - and is suspected in more than a dozen similar stomach-turning incidents, police said.

Workers at the deli grabbed the feces-flinging fiend after they noticed him emptying two bottles of disgusting-smelling liquid onto food trays in the back of the store at around 5:40 p.m., police said.

Cops responding to the bizarre call arrested Arellano and confiscated the bottles, which were sent to the Health Department for testing.

"Oh, it makes me sick just thinking about it," said Alpine customer Dawn Riggins, a 33-year-old beautician from The Bronx. "What kind of person would do that? It's disgusting."

Arellano was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, criminal tampering and public urination.

And in a twist sure to make Midtown workers lose their lunch - or never eat it again - police said they are investigating numerous other incidents at eateries in Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and around 42nd Street.

Officials said Arellano has already been identified by witnesses as the man who recently tried to foul the food at Mike's Take-Away Deli in Grand Central, and will soon be charged in that case.

Other suspected victims of the dung-disher in the past few days include a Krispy Kreme, Zaro's Bakery, and Caruso's Pizza in Penn Station, police sources said.

Police are also investigating him for other alleged incidents, officials said.

Police said several proprietors witnessed what they thought was bizarre behavior by a man matching Arellano's description - while others had customers complain of foul odors coming from certain foods.

Deli customer Keshia Williamson said the incident explains why deli salads often taste like, er, garbage.

"I'm sure this happens at other delis, too," said the 21-year-old college student. "The person who did this is an animal. He could've gotten people sick.

"I'm not going to eat anything more from a salad bar."

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