Wednesday, 6 January 2010

I Have This Condition.

If you were creating your own top 100 list of the last decade's best films, but you had put a restriction on yourself that you could only have one film by any one director, would you pick Memento or The Dark Knight as Christopher Nolan's best work? The Dark Knight was a phenomenal film, mastering the comic book adaptation and pushing it so much further, with such texture and depth of performance, but still...


Memento made a lot of noise back in 2000, but for some reason that noise didn't equate to much more than a handful of critics awards, primarily for the screenplay (there were two Oscar nods, for editing and the screenplay, but nothing bigger.) As always, looking back, we wonder why. It's box office wasn't terrible either, but it should have been better - Guy Pearce had quite a name for himself back then, I'd argue more than he does now (though he seems to have a LOT of work on his plate at the moment.)

It's an incredible film, we all know that. We've all known that for years. For those who don't know it, just go out and hire it or buy it or something. The film plays forwards and backwards simultaneously, so the film ends at the middle of the story. It's so darned smart it hurts. You've got to concentrate in order to follow it, to try and remember what happened at the start of the previous 'running-backwards' scene so you don't lose what the whole film is about. Like Lantana, it doesn't treat the audience like children - but the work (it's not really that hard, the film just drags you right in there) really pays off.

Guy Pearce (someone I've always thought was amazing - if you want a total contrast of performance, go and get Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Another great film (we'll discuss technical merits at another time) with a very different performance from him) turns in an incredible performance as the memory-challenged Leonard, going after the killer of his wife. The twists and turns that take him to the ending are fantastic. The supports (mostly Carrie-Anne Moss as a manipulator and Joe Pantoliano as a friend - or is he?) are solid. Christopher Nolan's direction is terrific. The script - wow. Wally Pfister, who shot TDK, does less flashy but just as effective work here.

It's 5 stars all over the place. I knew there was a reason I revisited this picture.

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