The MoFo Top 100 Neo-noir Countdown

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So... what are the bets for today?
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I'll guess Memento.
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

I'll guess Memento.
I'll go with Le Samurai
I'll guess L.A. Confidential (1997).
Multiple votes here. C'mon, who else wants to roll the dice?


Christopher Nolan, 2000


Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior


Memento - A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer with the help of a shady police detective.


Noir expert Eddie Muller shares some brief thoughts on Memento and how noir he perceives it to be.

Big fan of Memento. To this day, it is still my favorite Nolan film. Some great performances, a unique direction, and a twisty and tragic story. Like Mulholland Drive, this is one I'm pretty sure I saw at least twice back-to-back when I rented it. Not sure why I didn't include it on my list, but it would've been pretty high.

SEEN: 67/93
MY BALLOT: 20/25

My ballot  

List facts!

Memento is Christopher Nolan's third entry in the countdown, after The Dark Knight (#61) and Following (#84).

The 20 point gap between Blood Simple and Memento will be the fifth highest from all the countdown. Yesterday's 32 point gap, will be the fourth.

I've seen Memento a handful of times and have always thought it was a really unique and interesting film, but I've never loved it. I keep thinking that I ought to rewatch it again, but then I remember how much less I've liked other Nolan films on recent rewatches and decide against it. My memory of it was fond enough to give it a vote, but I couldn't justify putting it any higher than 18.

My Ballot:
1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (#35)
2. You Were Never Really Here (#50)
3. The Man From Nowhere (#87)
4. The Departed (#53)
5. The Big Lebowski (#38)
6. Coming Soon
7. True Romance (#60)
8. Zodiac (#30)
9. Coming Soon
10. Won't Show
11. Drive (#14)
12. Shutter Island (#86)
13. The Nice Guys (#39)
14. Inherent Vice (#41)
15. Gone Girl (#34)
16. Pulp Fiction (#37)
17. Killer Joe (#66)
18. Memento (#8)
19. Coming Soon
20. Won't Show
21. Dark City (#24)
22. Nightcrawler (#21)
23. Won't Show
24. Won't Show
25. Won't Show

Memento is my #9. A little surprised it made it this far up. A simpler Nolan for simpler times.


RT – 94%, IMDb – 8.4

Roger Ebert said:

"The movie is more like a poignant exercise, in which Leonard's residual code of honor pushes him through a fog of amnesia toward what he feels is his moral duty. The movie doesn't supply the usual payoff of a thriller (how can it?), but it's uncanny in evoking a state of mind. Maybe telling it backward is Nolan's way of forcing us to identify with the hero. Hey, we all just got here." (read full review here)
UK Essays said:

"Memento is one movie which typifies the 'film noir' genre in that it has numerous elements which categorically makes it as one. Primarily, the existence of a lonely, confused and troubled protagonist is there. Add to this the other elements like the black-and-white scenes, the struggle, the seemingly bleak situations, the crimes perpetrated, the underground investigations, the voice-overs of the lead character, evil, paranoia and deception among other things." (read full review here)
@Pelicula Pelican said:

"Elements of the classic noir style, such as low key lighting, flashbacks and the usage of voice overs are present within this film, but that style is also integrated with a more modern look and feel to run consistently with the main themes this film is trying to convey. One of these themes is of course memory and unlike other film noirs, the audience is forced to question the subjectivity of Leonard’s thoughts, because of his memory loss." (read full review here)

Memento is my #9. A little surprised it made it this far up. A simpler Nolan for simpler times.
I certainly wish he would go back to a small scale project like this.

Memento is a good movie. Maybe Nolan's best. It's been a very long time since I last watched. I wonder how it would hold up on a rewatch.
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

My List:
Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - #44
03. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - #42
04. John Wick (2014) - DNP
05. Blue Ruin (2013) - #82
06. Mother (2009) - #67
07. Dark City (1998) - #24
08. Strange Days (1995) - #65
The Man from Nowhere (2010) - #87
Reservoir Dogs (1992) - #16
Angel Heart (1987) - #31
15. Infernal Affairs (2002) - #91
16. Memento (2000) - #8
17. Memories of Murder (2003) - #25
The Usual Suspects (1995) - #20
21. Oldboy (2003) - #52
23. Nightcrawler (2014) - #21
25. The Chaser (2008) - DNP 1-pointer

Seen: 51/93

That bit about Memento being the only Nolan film I liked when it was new and still like now is not exactly true anymore, because I really liked Tenet and haven't changed my mind on that yet, so that makes Memento one of two Nolan films that I haven't changed my mind on (one way or the other). It was on my list at #16.

Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano, Carrie-Anne Moss

With its complex narrative structure, Memento keeps the audience on the same page as its lead character, preventing viewers from having more information than Lenny does in any given scene. While it may initially be disorienting, the order of events quickly becomes more evident, since the colour sequences overlap slightly, allowing the puzzle pieces to more easily fall into place. Since many recent movies tend to over explain things, it's refreshing to revisit a film that is willing to put some faith in its audience.

Memento is actually the only Christopher Nolan film that I liked when it was new, and still enjoy today. I hadn't seen the film in maybe ten years or so, and the last time I watched it, I decided to check out the chronological edit. The film definitely loses most of its impact without the intertwining forward and reverse time sequences, since the dramatic reveal takes place halfway through the film when viewed this way. It's really just a novelty for fans of the original timeline who are curious to see how the story unfolds when it is divorced from Lenny's perspective.

The film doesn't work as well outside of his limited view, because that altered perception is what made Memento great. The performances certainly help sell the story as well, but the editing is what connects viewers to Lenny's state of mind, and allows the audience to actively participate in piecing together the mystery. I don't really have anything else to say about the film, since I tend to avoid spoilers in my write-ups, and even bringing up some of the film's central themes could ruin certain elements of the story. I did briefly consider reordering the paragraphs here, but I don't think my reviews are typically structured enough that a reversal would even be noticeable.
I still haven't seen Blood Simple, but I've seen Memento a number of times over the years. It's not a favourite like it used to be, but I still regard it quite fondly. The last time I saw it was when it was nominated for the Second Chance Hall of Fame, and this is what I wrote at the time:

A system of cells interlinked
Catching up with the weekend reveals:

Blood Simple was on my list at #14. A gritty, dark neo-noir that is another one I think perfectly encapsulates the style. I have a had a couple of friends tell me they sort of checked out while watching it, and that it drags in places. It is a slow burn, but has never really felt like a drag to me. This came came to mind pretty quickly as I complied my ballot, and I new I had to find a slot for it.

Memento didn't quite make my ballot, and would probably land somewhere up around #35 or so. I liked it quite a bit when I first saw it, but perhaps not as much these days. I find it to be a good but not great film. I am not a huge Carrie Ann Moss fan, and she just sort of rubs me the wrong way.

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell