Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 109 mins
Released: 4 October 2010
Cat No: P901607000
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Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is suffering from acute short-term memory loss and is unable to remember anything for more than a few minutes... Read More
To a first time viewer of this unusual and thought provoking thriller, my advice would be don't nod off, it demands your undivided attention from start to finish, but is skilful enough in its execution to earn it.
Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man driven by an overriding desire to track down and exact revenge against the man who brutally raped and murdered his wife. Since the incident, Shelby has suffered form shortterm memory loss that has destroyed both his recollection of the murder, and his ability to generate new memories. In his quest to solve the mystery, Shelby arms himself with tattoos, polaroids and cryptic notes to record the things he must remember.
Writer and director Christopher Nolan has latched onto the notion of memory as a structural device onto which to construct layers of ambiguity and intrigue that cloud the audience's expectations and judgements of events and characters throughout the film. In addition, Nolan unfolds his story in reverse, with each scene apparently lasting the exact timescale of one of Shelby's memories before it degenerates.
The audience are forced to remember what has happened, and how events are directly linked to incidents that have already taken place beforehand in reality, but which are presented afterwards, subverting the normal linear chronology of cinema.
Nolan is aided by a small cast of actors who exude mystery and ambiguity, supporting the noirish atmosphere of characters who may not be what they appear to be. Particular praise must be reserved for Guy Pearce, whose rage and determination combined with frustration and despair make for an engaging lead, who not always elicits audience sympathy.
So remember, stay wideawake until the final revelatory twist or you may find yourself as confused and wanting as Leonard Shelby himself!