Leonard Shelby has lost his short-term memory from an incident involving the murder of his wife. Unable to remember anything that happened more than 10 minutes earlier, he now searches for the murderer, leaving himself messages in a series of notes, Polaroids and tattoos all over his body. These strange communications become his memory, but how much can he trust, and whom can he trust?
To make sure we're as lost as our protagonist, director/writer Nolan tells the movie backward, so that the denouement occurs at the beginning of the story, which is the end of the movie. Are you confused yet? It's a clever way to rob the audience of its short-term memory as well. At least in the context of the movie.
I was sleepy the day I saw Memento, but this movie snapped me out of my Sunday stupor and had me thinking all the way, trying to figure out the story ahead of time, and picking up an occasional error in continuity. This is a complex story, and I loved how it kept me guessing. And Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential) gives an understated, earnest performance, proving that he is the thinking man's Val Kilmer.