Best Films of the 2000s: No. 9.

No. 9


I wanted to re-watch Memento immediately after the credits finished, because it took the movie's entire running length to figure out exactly what is happening. When it ended, I wanted to see it again to be sure. The film's single story is edited non-linearly, cutting back and forth between two different portions that are moving in opposite direction. The narrative starts at the beginning and end, and the two arcs meet in the middle at the movie's end.

Because of the film's back-and-forth non-linear nature, some decry the film as little more than a gimmick. But this isn't just some twist at the end. The non-linear nature makes the film. You can't separate the method from the story. No one complains that Godfather II is only great because it bounces between two stories that are decades apart. The brilliant interlacing of narratives is part of what makes that film great, and the same thing applies in Memento.

The unusual story-telling works because of Guy Pearce's short-term amnesia. The viewer sees things as he does, largely unsure of what has previously happened. Pearce nails the part with his various tics and habits, and his mindset vacillates beautifully between certainty and uncertainty. He is an ideal conduit through which the audience can experience the movie.

I saw it twice in four days...during Finals Week. That's how intriguing the movie was. No other film this decade bent the mind like Memento. Period. It might even be better than a few movies ahead of it, but I didn't love it with my heart as much as my mind.

Best Films of the 2000s
10. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
9. Memento
8. Coming soon...

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