As much as I dig Christopher Nolan’s Batman flicks, he’s always been at his best when he’s taking an eggbeater to moviegoers’ brains. I’m talking about the Möbius-strip dreamscapes of Inception, the sleight-of-hand trickery of The Prestige, and most of all, his dizzying breakout behind the camera, Memento (2001, R, 1 hr., 53 mins.). Now marking its 10th birthday with a Blu-ray debut, Memento is one of those jigsaw puzzles whose pieces snap together more tightly with each viewing. Fueling it all is a performance by Guy Pearce that’s as indelible as the tattoo ink covering his body. He’s a mural of vengeance. Pearce’s Leonard Shelby is a hero straight out of a ’40s film noir — he remembers nothing…other than the certainty that he must track down and kill the person who murdered his wife. Every time he wakes up, he’s essentially starting from scratch with only the “facts” stenciled on his body to guide him. Nolan, the merry prankster, unspools Leonard’s story in reverse, so the audience is solving the case with him, always reevaluating whether to trust the weaselly Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and the femme fatale Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss). The Blu-ray’s extras are mostly leftovers from previous DVD editions, but the film itself has aged beautifully. It’s a throwback to a time when indie upstarts like Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, and David O. Russell were flipping the bird to the establishment, saying, Hey, here we come. The good news is, 10 years later, all three are up for Best Picture. They are the establishment. A-
Starring: Guy Pearce; Director: Christopher Nolan; Author: Christopher Nolan; Runtime (in minutes): 113; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Lions Gate Films
Posted February 18 2011 — 12:00 AM EST
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