To call this an intricate thriller would be an understatement. Film noir has never been so labyrinthine. Leonard, the central figure, played by Guy Pearce, is a mystery even to himself. Expensively-suited, driving a chic sports car, yet living precariously in seedy motels, he seems to be on a desperate quest to find his wife's killer and avenge her death.
He is also up against a rare form of amnesia which makes it difficult for him to remember what has happened to him in the immediate past, although he can recall his earlier life. In order to keep track of where he is and what he is doing he surrounds himself with reminders, and even uses his body as if it were a giant note pad. On his limbs and torso he has indelibly etched messages designed to jolt his deficient memory cells, but which serve only to magnify the enigma. Nothing is what it seems. Characters he has trusted turn out to be duplicitous, those who seemed dangerous could well be friends.
The structure of Christopher Nolan's fascinatingly original second film is determinedly non-linear. The same sequences are seen from different viewpoints, alternatively clarifying and muddling perceptions. It is edited like a random pile of mosaic tiles, but when the last one has snaps into place, a surprise sets the whole intrigue in motion again.
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