Sunday, July 17, 2011

Film Review: Momento

I think there is something about Chris Nolan films that leaves me wanting.

I've seen both of the Batman reboots, Inception, Insomnia, The Prestige and now Momento.  And they all leave me cold.

Whether its my inability to suspend disbelief or characters that Nolan tends to work with on film, there is something there that I can't connect with.

Yes, the films are well crafted and often unique in style but for me there is something missing.

In Momento it is the very thing that people remark upon most that I have an issue with.  Yes, the backwards time structure due to Guy Pearce's character's inability to form short term memories is a cool prism through which to tell a story.  But it feels like a gimmick.

Because you start at the end of the story and fill in details going backwards,  you develop fully formed perceptions of the characters immediately which unravel as the story progresses--the opposite of typical storytelling where the details discovered as you move forward, add too and build upon your view of a given character.  And here you end up with the negative view of the protagonists last.  Carrie-Anne Moss goes from sympathetic abuse victim helping Guy Pearce find his wife's killer to manipulative, drug dealer who shrugs off the death of her boyfriend like a duck shedding water.  Guy Pearce goes from an aggrieved, avenging husband to a misguided, self-absorbed, (possible) serial killer.

Yes, I know this is supposed to show how unreliable and unpredictable memories can be and I'm supposed to enjoy the twists and turns thrown at the viewer.  I just didn't.  The craftsmanship is evident and I would want to view the film for its place outside the realm of typical Hollywood drivel.  But actually enjoy the film I cannot.

1 comment:

Michal said...

It's been quite a while when I saw this movie but I can tell you I enjoyed it a lot. It is as you wrote, memories can be deceptive and not even writing them will help you sometimes. The twisted turn of C-A Moss character was like WTH for me. I liked this movie just like all other Nolan's films I saw.