Blu-Ray Review: Christopher Nolan’s Masterful ‘Memento’ Hits Decade Mark

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CHICAGO – Now’s the time that a lesser writer would make some plot-related pun related to ask if you remember “Memento,” one of the best films of the ’00s that also happens to feature a protagonist suffering from memory loss. One thing fans of writer/director Christopher Nolan would like to forget is how cruel the Academy has been to their favorite filmmaker over the last decade, failing to nominate him yet for Best Director and never giving him an Oscar. For shame.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

In all seriousness, one of the best working directors has become the poster child for the failures of the Oscars. Even though it is impressive that his “Inception” won four awards on Sunday night, the snub in even being nominated for Best Director (when many thought he should even be considered to WIN), especially after the same snub two years ago for “The Dark Knight” will sting for years to come. The fact that Nolan has been nominated multiple times for his films, including DGA nods for “Memento,” “The Dark Knight” and “Inception,” but can’t turn that into a single Oscar nod is just weird.

Memento: 10th Anniversary Special Edition was released on Blu-Ray on February 22nd, 2011
Memento: 10th Anniversary Special Edition was released on Blu-Ray on February 22nd, 2011
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

But he’s in good company. Honestly, the list of men snubbed by the Academy is nearly as impressive as those who have been feted by it. Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, and Sidney Lumet never won directing Oscars either. Not bad company. And, yes, it’s time to start mentioning Nolan in the same conversation as the masters. He’s easily one of our best, as evidenced by not just the three films mentioned already but also “Insomnia,” “Batman Begins,” and “The Prestige.” In many ways, it’s amazing that “Memento” is ONLY ten years old when one considers how much Nolan has accomplished in just a decade. Imagine what he’ll do with the next two.

Memento: 10th Anniversary Special Edition was released on Blu-Ray on February 22nd, 2011
Memento: 10th Anniversary Special Edition was released on Blu-Ray on February 22nd, 2011
Photo credit: Lionsgate Home Video

Nolan’s beloved thriller tells the saga of a man (Guy Pearce, in one of his best performances) stuck in a nightmarish loop. He can create no new memories, having to use notes to himself to solve the mystery of who killed his wife. The script for “Memento” is a wonderful puzzle that wraps in on itself so many times that even the viewer starts to question what’s real. It would not be the first time that Nolan would craft what could politely be called a mind f**k but it’s definitely one of his best.

Nolan has made clear that his films do all the speaking required. He doesn’t provide a lot of behind-the-scenes material or commentaries, but “Memento” includes material before Nolan was Nolan and he was probably forced into doing the associated commentary. The 10th anniversary of the film may be an occassion for a Blu-ray release (and it’s no coincidence that it’s timed to the Oscar buzz around “Inception” instead of May, when the film actually hits its birthday) but this isn’t that special edition. If you already own “Memento,” there’s no real reason to upgrade. The video and audio have never been better (including the previous Blu-ray release) and the special features are very good, just previously available (and the DVD option to play the film chronologically did NOT make the trip).

Ultimately, this is a release about the movie itself, which not only sent shockwaves through the Hollywood system in 2001 but hasn’t aged at all since then. It’s still a strikingly unique vision from an amazing talent. Nolan’s talent is impossible to forget.


Special Features:
o Commentary With Director Christopher Nolan
o Remembering Memento
o Anatomy of a Scene
o IFC Interview with Writer/Director Christopher Nolan
o Memento Mori
o Tattoo Sketches
o Leonard’s Journal

“Memento” stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano. It was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The Tenth Anniversary Special Edition was released on Blu-ray on February 22nd, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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