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Rarely has a film of such complexity and nuance seized the popular imagination as Memento did when it was released in March of 2001. This is a film that not only emulates noir and its '70s-born variation film soleil, but which also adds the clever gimmick of a protagonist with a short-term memory disability. And the film doesn't stop there. It also tells its story backwards, basically in seven- to 10-minute chunks. The immediate effect of this approach is to plunge the viewer immediately into the world as the protagonist experiences it. Memento is about Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce). A former San Francisco-based insurance adjuster, he is searching for the man who killed his wife and also left him with the short-term memory disability that requires the extensive use of Polaroids, Post-It notes, and tattoos. Aiding him in his search are Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), a shady cop, and a bartender named Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss). Not only is Memento in the tradition of recent crime thrillers with a twist (Angel Heart, The Usual Suspects), it's in the loose tradition of amnesia noirs such as The Blue Dahlia, Suture, and Shattered. But even more noir-ishly, it also features one of the great noir femme fatales of all time. Columbia TriStar's DVD release offers a fine anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. The extras are not plentiful, but they aren't negligible either. Supplements start off with a 30-minute interview with Christopher Nolan from the IFC Channel, conducted by New York Times reviewer Elvis Mitchell. As with most television interviews, not much is really said in proportion to the time consumed. Also on hand is the content of the official website, www.otnemem.com, which provides fake news stories pertaining to Shelby's case, and the text of Jonathan Nolan's original short story, which also has only a tangential connection with the movie. There's a tattoo gallery that compares the original sketches and final photographs of the tattoo's on Shelby's body, seen throughout the film. There's also the theatrical trailer and some TV spots, plus the trailer for Nolan's earlier film, Following. Director and cast biographies. Keep-case.
—D.K. Holm

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