A former insurance investigator Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) has lost the ability to create short-term memories. This hampers his efforts to investigate his wife's murder. To preserves vital information, Shelby tatoos clues onto his torso, and leaves detailed messages to himself in the form of post-it notes and polaroids of those he meets.

4
An intruiging mosaic of a film noir.

The film starts in actual rewind mode, as blood seeps back into a recently shot body and the bullet returns to the gun held by Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce). He's a former insurance investigator who suffers from having no short-term memory. This makes his investigation into the rape and murder of his wife a confused and challenging experience. He tattoos important facts he has to remember on his body and takes polaroids of people he meets and notes their names and signficant information on their photos. His condition is manipulated by Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), an undercover cop and Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), a waitress who's involved with a drug dealer.

This tantalising and clever film is the work of British writer/director Christopher Nolan and it features a stunning performance from Guy Pearce who is consolidating his international career after the achievement of LA Confidential. Memento's the sort of film you come out from with some bewilderment, a bit like The Usual Suspects, you want to see it again to see where the pieces fit with hindsight. And even then conclusions tend to be tentative. But it's exhilarating to see a psychological murder mystery that layers its film noir origins with insight into the importance of accumulated memory.

Comments From David Stratton: How pleasant to welcome an original latter-day film noir which really keeps you guessing. Christopher Nolan's intelligent script and his inventive direction make this potentially confusing 'backwards' film rich in incident and character, and Guy Pearce's excellent performance in the lead anchors the material.

It's the kind of film to see more than once to appreciate all the intricacies of the plot – and there's a rich sense of humour which prevents it from getting bogged down into self-importance.