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Memento (2000)

2000 was a remarkable year for film. Unbreakable, American Psycho, Traffic among others. I'm still convinced that it's the finest year for film in the noughties, and this is just another example of how excellent filmmaking was, before Hollywood started making empty blockbusters to satisfy the average action fan who gets off on the random explosion. And as much as I love them, I think that was caused by the mega success of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. People were hungry for another phenomenon and the studio's started churning out blockbusters, and leaving it up to chance whether they would be successful in their aims. And when I see crap like that, I look back on films like these to see that some filmmakers are interested in telling a good story, using technical skills and creativity. This is an example of why Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest filmmakers working today.

Nolan masterfully constructs a tale of Leonard, an insurance incestigator with a condition that doesn't allow him to make new memories. This is a tricky situation, as Leonard is investigating the murder of his wife. He doesn't who to trust or what to think.

The "movie filmed backwards" is an interesting aspect, but not the dominating one. Sure, Chris does direct this film superbly, never feeling too long or too tedious or too confusing in the way the story is told. But it's Nolan's ingenious screenplay that gives us a smug, likeable protagonist, an engaging plot that never bores, expert sequencing and some wonderful moments of humour. I do think that the film deserved the best screenplay oscar, as no other film of 2000 was as inventive, clever or original as this tremendous thriller.

Wally Pfister's photography is very interesting to look at, as I thought it had that "noir" feeling, and worked excellently with the film. Guy Pearce is compelling as Leonard, giving an astonishingly gripping, witty and nervy performance as the lead. Carrie Anne Moss is miles away from her nearly lifeless performance in The Matrix and has a great scene where she verbally taunts Pearce's character. Joe Pantoliano was the biggest surprise for me, as he delivers a outstanding performance in a role in which he brings subtlety and, like other aspects of the film, humour.

I've been giving a lot of films five stars lately, but I feel this one really deserves it. This is how a thriller should be; complex, engaging, fascinating and handled by a director who doesn't know how to tell good stories, but great ones.