“My wife deserves revenge, whether I know about it or not.” A man named Leonard “Lenny” Shelby (Guy Pearce) who suffers from a rare condition called “anterograde amnesia” (short-term memory loss) attempts to avenge the murder of his wife. This intricate neo-nor thriller was based on a short story, “Memento Mori,” by director Christopher Nolan’s younger brother, Jonathan, and shot in just 26 days at a cost of $5 million. The plot unfolds unconventionally: Black-and-white scenes are shown chronologically mixed with color scenes shown in reverse order. Somehow it all works perfectly! Two of the Memento cast members also appeared in The Matrix (1999) – Carrie-Anne Moss (“Trinity”) and Joe Pantoliano (“Cypher”). In addition, the guy who portrays “Sammy Jankis” (Stephen Tobolowsky) was the annoying insurance salesman, “Ned Ryerson,” in Groundhog Day (1993). The tagline for Memento read, “Some memories are best forgotten.” Nolan has remarked that his influences include the films of Orson Welles, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, among others. Useless Trivia: Nolan’s first film, Following (1998), was a black-and-white psychological thriller filmed one day a week over the course of a year.
Did You Know ...
• Pantoliano had a memorable role as "Guido the Killer Pimp" in Risky Business (1983).
• The film was nominated for an Oscar for "Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen" but lost out to Gosford Park.
• The message on Teddy's Polaroid reads "Don't believe his lies."