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‘…one of the most demanding movies ever made…one of cinema’s most ornate puzzle-boxes…’

‘You lie to yourself to be happy…who cares if there’s a few details you’d rather not remember?’ concludes Leonard (Guy Pearce) in Christopher Nolan’s stunning thriller Memento, adapted from a short story by his brother Jonathan, Memento Mori. Adapted to some degree; while the text story certainly has the kernel of the narrative here, there’s also a vigorous opening out of the narrative that made Mememto such a blast in 2000, and it’s really not aged a day on this steelbook blu-ray release from 101 Films Black Label in 2023. Take a deep breath, because Memento is one of the most demanding movies ever made, not because it’s shocking or harrowing, but Nolan is asking a huge amount of the viewer, who has to piece together a complex, deceptive narrative much as Leonard does, often dropped into confusing scene after scene with no idea how he, or we, got there.

We start with a Polaroid developing, or possibly not; the film is reversed, as is the brief act of violence that follows, as Leonard shoots Teddy (Joe Pantolino) at point blank range. ‘Don’t believe his lies’ is what’s written under the picture of Teddy in Leonard’s collection of Polaroid snaps he keeps in his beige suit pocket as index cards to guide him through the scummy edges of Californian society, but if he can’t trust Teddy’s lies, whose lies can Leonard trust? It doesn’t matter how ‘religiously’ Leonard reads the Bible in his hotel room, he’s being gas-lit left right and centre, by Teddy, or perhaps by the mysterious Dodd (Callum Keith Rennie), or even the sympathetic Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), whose index card ambiguously reads ‘She will help you out of pity’

‘You know what you want to do, but you can’t remember what you just did?’ is how someone sums up the dangerous flaw in Leonard’s short-terms memory condition; Leonard claims to remember everything up until the murder of his wife, and seeks revenge, but reality seems to be splintering before Leonard’s eyes. ‘Just because there’s things I don’t remember doesn’t mean my actions are meaningless,’ Leonard complains, but his existential drama is on-going, and leaves him open to external exploitation.

A neo-noir thriller, Memento has a potent idea at its core; that someone with no conscience or recall would be a perfect murder weapon. Memento’s story famously works backwards, but the parallel black and white hotel room flashback structure works forwards, and there’s also a separate story that Leonard tells to explain his condition. Sammy Jankis (Stephen Tobolowsky) was a client that Leonard claimed to have met while working in the insurance business. Similarly unable to make new memories, Jankis was subjected to a conditioning experiment, but struggled to develop the instinct required to remember which test objects he touched had been electrified for test purposes, ‘We turned down his claim on the basis that it wasn’t mental illness…’ but is Leonard talking about Jankis, or about himself? Nolan deliberately mixes this notion up with a fleeting shot of Leonard in place of Jankis in an old folks home.

Blurred photographs, post it notes and tattoos give Leonard information, but how much can be trusted? Even played the right way round, as this blu-ray package allows, Memento has plenty of jet black humour, from Leonard being asked ‘Can I have my shirt back?’ by Natalie after they sleep together, Teddy blithely dismissing the sound of a kidnapped hostage as the lovemaking of ‘amorous neighbours’ and Leonard commenting on his own situations.. ‘I don’t feel drunk …’ he says as he looks at a bottle of alcohol he finds in a hotel toilet, but a foot chase proves more evasive at first glance. ‘What am I doing? I’m chasing this guy…No, wait, he’s chasing me!’

‘You can’t bully someone into remembering,’ is a mantra mentioned here, but Leonard can and will be bullied; he’s just not sure who it is that’s bullying him, and we don’t know either. In the fake news era, when sources are no longer trusted and manipulation is the norm, Memento was way ahead of its time in predicating the consequences of such malicious, conspiracy-based malfeasance. Nolan repeated these tropes in this year’s Oppenheimer, the notion of the hidden betrayal from a supposed friend, but Memento captures the idea in a pure form, remaining one of cinema’s most ornate puzzle-boxes, and probably the film most suited to multiple re-watches on this swanky new blu-ray, the bells and whistles are detailed below.

Available on Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray from 25th September 2023
101 Films presents Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000), in special packaging including a Limited Edition Blu-ray SteelBook® and featuring new interviews with the filmmakers, including director Christopher Nolan.

Memento (2000) (Limited Edition) (Blu-Ray)


Special Features:

Limited Edition contents:

  • SteelBook®
  • Rigid box packaging
  • Booklet one: Remembrance of things past: time and memory in Christopher Nolan’s Memento by James


  • Booklet two: Jonathan Nolan’s Memento Mori short story
  • Replica Polaroid art cards, printed notes and beer mat enclosed in Leonard’s folder
  • Bonus second disc featuring the chronological edit (SD)

Brand new special features:

  • Remember – Actor Carrie-Anne Moss on Memento
  • Keepsake – Director Christopher Nolan on Memento
  • Memento Mori – Writer Jonathan Nolan on Memento
  • Memories – Producer Emma Thomas on Memento
  • A Leap into the Unknown – Producer Aaron Ryder on Memento
  • Musical Memories – Composer David Julyan on Memento
  • Commentary with film critics James Mottram and Sean Hogan

Archive extras:

  • Memento chronological cut
  • Remembering Memento
  • Anatomy of a Scene
  • IFC Interview with Christopher Nolan
  • Director’s commentary


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  1. This was a five-star project even before we knew how good Nolan was going to be and it mainlined on his main attraction – he makes the audience work. Incredibly bold for the time.

  2. Somehow this one has managed to slip through my fingers since 2000. It’s solidly on my, “I meant to watch that list.”

    Might have to finally actually watch it.

    Hope I can remember it.

  3. Memento is a masterpiece in experimental filmmaking. I followed the reverse narrative a lot better than I thought I would. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t have seen Memento if not for Christopher Nolan, but I would still call it underrated in his filmography.

    • I loved this at the time, but I think it’s reputation suffered because it’s so demanding, the opposite of a casual watch. Nolan has made bigger things since, but I’m not sure if any quite equal this for off the wall rule breaking.

  4. I lie to myself all the time too.
    Bookstodge, you are not the smartest, handsomest, most athletic and totally charismatic man I’ve ever met.
    Talk about telling one massive lie, eh?

    • I guess it’s a big lie to say that you met yourself, since you are yourself. Otherwise, from the best of the information I’ve got, this checks out nicely.

    • It helps. If you take your eye off it, you can get hopelessly lost. Really enjoyed re-watching this, you understand tonnes more. One brief burst of swearing, but otherwise a smooth watch, but this probably improves each time you see it because it’s such a unique film.

  5. Demanding indeed. The last time I went through this I prepped with some explainer videos I found online and was still left with nagging doubts about whether it actually all added up at the end. Something about it just doesn’t fit for me. But it is a lot of fun. And I like these super-duper collector’s editions. They’re unnecessary except for what I guess is the shrinking niche of people who still want physical copies of favourite movies, but it’s nice to know such people are out there.

    • If physical media was invented overnight, we’d consider it to be an excitingly big market; it’s just because in the past, DVD was a dominant media and that’s streaming now. But streaming is here today gone tomorrow, and I do think there’s a large enough group of people of want to own, swap, share and re-watch their favourite films as fandom becomes the norm.

      Rewatching this, I anticipated some twists that didn’t come, and I think that’s because it seemed so tricky the first time around. This time, you know that Leonard is being used, and you can see how that’s being done. So worth a pop for a blu-ray because there’s at least three good nights in figuring this one out.

    • We’re out here! Phil just bought a bluray of Apollo 13 for £2.99 because he wouldn’t cough up £3.45 to stream it on Amazon when the movie is damned nigh 30 years old!

        • No, but in ye olde days, we call collected films we liked and wanted to see again. It’s not just people seeking Japanese bubble packs in limited editions. Now people are just accepting watch slop with adverts instead of what they might actually want to see. How many times have you thought of a film you want to see, and found it was free on streaming? A handful of times a year?

          • Not often for sure. Now and again we have paid rental, grudgingly because we couldn’t wait for it to be free (if ever) and also because we were not certain we’d want our own copy, but that’s not even a handful of times.

      • You are correct to do so. The pricing for streaming is farcical. Films you can easily pick up for pennies in shops are all £3.50 a pop for one nights rental. Although maybe that’s why they’re getting rid of shops…

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