Memento (2000)

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Released 20-Feb-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 108:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christopher Nolan
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Guy Pearce
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joe Pantoliano
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music David Julyan


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, not really "smoking", but there is drug taking
Annoying Product Placement Yes, anyone want a Jag?
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It is difficult to describe the story behind Memento without giving too much away. You see, the story starts with the ending and finishes with the beginning. If that is not strange enough, there are segments, presented in black and white, throughout the movie that move "forwards" in time. While it sounds confusing, it really isn't, and is an extremely inventive way of presenting a story.

    The protagonist here is Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man with a problem. It seems that Leonard suffered an accident at some stage in his past, and now has no short-term memory. He can remember everything from before the accident, but he has no ability to make new memories, and therefore needs to rely on notes and photographs to remind himself of what to do next. The movie opens with Leonard having just shot and killed Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), and moves backwards from there, gradually revealing the chain of events that lead to the shooting. Carrie-Anne Moss also features as a mysterious "femme-fatale", who is helping Leonard out of pity...or is she? Has Leonard been set up to kill the wrong person, and if so, by whom?

    Memento is a very effective film, and by the end you are forced to consider many issues regarding the treatment of people with a disability, and how they think of themselves. The way it is presented is extremely innovative, and really helps the feel of the film, just giving the impression that something is wrong, never letting you relax. The pacing of the film also works very effectively, building up slowly to the gripping finish (or beginning...), always drawing you in further. Memento would be my pick for the best mystery-thriller of the year, and is certainly one of the better examples in the genre overall.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer presented for Memento is very close to perfect.

    Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is superb, leading to brilliant detail such that even the finest elements in the frame can be seen. The shadow detail is not quite as good, especially during the black and white sequences, as many of the finer details tend to dissipate into large areas of total black. There is no low level noise present in this transfer.

    For the scenes that are presented in colour, the colours are vibrant and nicely rendered, giving a good impression of the locations used. The black and white segments display good contrast, and a nice gradient through the greys from white to black. The only real problem is that the black end of the spectrum tends to be somewhat over-enhanced during the black and white segments, leading to the loss in shadow detail mentioned above.

    There were no MPEG artefacts to be seen during the transfer. Film to video artefacts do occur on an infrequent basis in the form of aliasing. When aliasing does appear, it is somewhat noticeable, such as on the wall at 3:17. Film artefacts, while present, were very infrequent, tiny and almost unnoticeable.

    From the sample of the subtitles that I watched, they appear to be very accurate to the spoken word, almost never dropping any words at all. This does lead to a few instances, however, where the text can flash through too quickly, but with DVD's instant rewind capability, this is preferable to missing large chunks of dialogue just to keep the subtitle pacing.

    This disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 60:05 between Chapters 27 and 28. It is placed on a fade-to-black, although the time taken to negotiate the change still makes it quite visible.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer presented here is of very high quality, although it would have benefited from higher levels in the surround channels.

    There is only a single audio track available on this disc, being an English dialogue track presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 at the higher bitrate of 448 Kbps.

    Dialogue is good, being clear and easy to understand at all times. The only real problem is some distortion in the dialogue when Carrie-Ann Moss is using as many expletives as possible at around 72:31. The distortion sounds as if the microphone was overloaded from her voice, and it is likely that it is present in the source material, as it also appears on the R1 version of Memento.

    Audio sync is never a problem during this transfer.

    I could not find the credit for music in this movie, but according to the IMDB, the man responsible is David Julyan, and a very good score it is. The score suits the movie perfectly, being moody and just different enough to give a slightly ill-at-ease feeling that really helps build atmosphere in the movie.

    The surround channels were almost constantly active during this movie, but, and this is my major gripe with the audio on this disc, the ambient sounds were almost always at very low levels. Now, don't get me wrong, I do appreciate a nicely subtle ambient track, but at the levels the surround channels are recorded at for this film, it is almost impossible to know they are active without sitting right on top of them. If effort has been put in to deliver a nice surround mix, and it seems that it was, then why not let us hear it?

    For what is mostly a dialogue driven mystery thriller, the subwoofer largely sits dormant, only coming to life very occasionally. This really isn't a huge problem however, given the nature of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are absolutely no extras on this disc whatsoever. Not even a trailer. Chalk one up for the "bare-bones" rental category.

Menu

    In all fairness, the menu is almost an extra in itself. With ultra-smooth animated transitions between sections, and a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack at 448 Kbps, this is one of the most impressive menus that I have seen to date on DVD. It is 16x9 enhanced to boot.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     That is quite a list! Obviously, as our R4 is a rental version, it is somewhat unfair to compare the two, but for now the R1 is the clear winner.

Summary

    Memento is a very good, and extremely stylish, mystery-thriller, presented on an extras free, but nonetheless good, DVD.

    The video quality is excellent, only being let down by a few noticeable instances of aliasing, and a loss of shadow detail in the black and white segments.

    The audio quality is also excellent, although the surround channels are mixed at a level that is far too low for my tastes.

    There are no extras at all on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Saturday, November 03, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
Retail version is bare-bones too! - nuxx
This film (if we can call it that) was the biggest insult I copped in 2001 - Dean M (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
R4 Very Poor - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)
RE: This film (if we can call it that) was the biggest insult I copped in 2001 -
RE This film (if we can call it that) was the biggest insult I copped in 2001 - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
R1 Special Edition -