Director: Christopher Nolan
Year Released: 1999
Hardly a masterpiece, people - there are enough flaws to almost ruin it for me - but as an exercise in storytelling, it's mighty interesting. The picture runs backwards - its hero, Guy Pearce, suffers from a neurological disorder that disables his short-term memory, so whenever he falls asleep and wakes up (or just passes time, for that matter), he forgets everything that happens the day before, aside from Polaroids he takes and tattoos he keeps on his body to remind him of his mission: to find whoever raped and killed his wife. When I say it's experimentally delicious, like a sugary bowl of film cereal, I really mean it: the narrative, which builds towards the beginning, and a revelation that is yet another mind-fuck to set you reeling. Doesn't quite hold up to logic, however, and because Nolan takes such risks with his story telling, key components of the narrative fall to pieces upon mental examination (after two hours of ambiguity, you really don't need more ambiguity). Little is tied together and a variety of more questions are raised - unlike, say, L.A. Confidential, it's hardly airtight. Dialogue runs from cute to banal - Nolan starts off every conversation with Pearce saying, "I have this condition where ..." which I'm sure is likely but tiresome after you've heard him use it countless times. Some have gone gaga over the implications of what mankind is without memory, but the picture is hardly philosophical - Pearce's final lines don't strike any meaningful chord. I can't help it though: I love being fooled. Think Keyser Soze.