Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Memento is a thriller for people who are sick of thrillers, a puzzle movie in which the puzzle is actually worth the time and effort to solve.
Los Angeles Times:
Provocatively structured and thrillingly executed film noir, an intricate, inventive use of cinema's possibilities that pushes what can be done on screen in an unusual direction.
You have to pay close attention to Memento, the most original thriller to come along in years -- and one of the best.
This terrifically satisfying film brings to mind '40s and '50s noir films in which the audience is as unsure about the protagonist's hold on reality as the protagonist is himself.
Memento becomes less a fascinating portrait of a damaged man than a typical revenge thriller. But it's still a very cool movie.
New York Times:
Memento is like an existential crossword puzzle, or a pungent 50's B-thriller with a script by Jorge Luis Borges.
New York Post:
Those who stay with it will experience perhaps the most dazzling film released so far this year.
New York Observer:
I am neither upset nor disturbed by Memento , only vaguely dissatisfied. I simply don't buy Jonathan Nolan's thesis that audiences know all the tropes and tricks of crime thrillers backward and forward.
Wall Street Journal:
I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time.
Memento's boldest stroke is its ingenious synthesis of structure and theme.
The astonishing payoff takes the film to another level entirely, unleashing a battery of existential questions that shed new light on everything that precedes it.
More a puzzle than a meaningful story, it reminds me of how Edmund Wilson compared reading a mystery to eagerly unpacking a box of excelsior, only to find a few rusty nails at the bottom.
Wild, daring, smart and funny, Memento is this year's quirky film-festival hit that deserves to break out of the art houses and into mainstream consciousness.
Memento is one of those jigsaw puzzles whose pieces snap together more tightly with each viewing. Fueling it all is a performance by Guy Pearce that's as indelible as the tattoo ink covering his body.
If nothing else, Memento is a savvy comment on the queasy uncertainties of the postmodern condition, in which history goes no further back than yesterday's news.
Pearce gives a first-rate performance and Memento likely will stay with you like a tattoo on your mind.
The young British writer and director Christopher Nolan, who has every intention of putting us through the mill, doubles his fun by running the whole story backward.
New York Daily News:
Writer-director Christopher Nolan's second film is one of the most original and ultimately confounding mind games to reach the screen since The Usual Suspects.
When it comes to making a Top 10 list for 2001, one title I won't forget is Memento.
The movie doesn't supply the usual payoff of a thriller (how can it?), but it's uncanny in evoking a state of mind.
You might suspect that it's told backwards because telling it forwards would tip us off much sooner that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
In most mysteries, you're dying to know what happens next. In this one, you can hardly wait for the beginning.
Globe and Mail:
By the conclusion, your immediate reaction is to want to see the movie again to try to put the pieces together. Your second instinct is to give it a rest.
There's grade A work from all concerned, especially Pearce, but in the end this is Nolan's film. And he delivers, with a vengeance.
Deconstructs time and space with Einstein-caliber dexterity in the service of a delectably disturbing tale of revenge.
Watching Memento is a unique experience: tense, irritating, and all-absorbing.
Memento doesn't just draw you into a dramatic mystery, it makes you aware of human mystery. And that's food for thought and entertainment.
Challenge all viewers and gives them plenty to ponder after the credits roll, the lights go out and they reach the parking lot.