Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. One of the most original and ultimately confounding mind games to reach the screen since "The Usual Suspects."
  2. Pearce, who's in every scene except the Sammy flashbacks, dominates the picture through his feral performance.
  3. Memento, which may be the ultimate existential thriller, has a spooky repetitive urgency that takes on the clarity of a dream.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeff Giles
    A gripping, utterly unexpected noir, glinting with bits of poetry and a hard, deadpan humor.
  5. 91
    A hard and bright and tough film in all the best ways.
  6. 90
    Enthralling or infuriating.
  7. 90
    Like the best filmmakers at Sundance 2001, Nolan leaps into the wild blue and dares us to leap with him. Go for it.
  8. 90
    The video stores are filled with examples of retro-noir and neo-noir, but Christopher Nolan's audacious timebender is something else. Call it meta-noir.
  9. A 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.
  10. A brilliant feat of rug-pulling, sure to delight fans of movies like "The Usual Suspects" and "Pi."
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    Deconstructs time and space with Einstein-caliber dexterity in the service of a delectably disturbing tale of revenge.
  12. Operates in an orbit somewhere between Oliver Sacks and Lewis Carroll. I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time.
  13. You're exhilarated from beginning to end.
  14. 90
    Unforgettable, especially in Pearce's startling performance.
  15. 88
    A puzzle movie in which the puzzle is actually worth the time and effort to solve.
  16. 88
    This demanding puzzle is not for the "Chocolat" crowd, but those who stay with it will experience perhaps the most dazzling film released so far this year - even though a second viewing is virtually mandatory.
  17. Terrifically satisfying film.
  18. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Has the unanticipated craft and artfully ambiguous appeal of last year's "Croupier," a movie whose art-house word-of-mouth success could be duplicated here.
  19. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The most disorienting and trippiest data-retrieval caper in years.
  20. 80
    Nolan's engrossing, backwards-ticking noir will run you so thoroughly in circles that you'll need to see it at least twice for maximum enjoyment.
  21. Nolan sustains an arty note of existential dread that probably will work better for noir-steeped film critics and overserious philosophy grad students than for general audiences, but he brings off a few brisk bravura moments.
  22. 80
    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, and knowledge is supplanted by "information" from a tumult of spin-controlled, unreliable narrators.
  23. 80
    Despite the first-rate acting, the narrative is the star of this show, so much so that you feel yourself occasionally losing interest in the travails of the characters. Instead, you hang on every word and every tiny object, every cut and bruise in the frame, looking for clues that will help you make sense of what's going on.
  24. 75
    A diabolical and absorbing experience.
  25. This unconventionally structured thriller moves at an energetic pace, spurred by a string of clever variations on conventional film narrative.
  26. 75
    Fiendishly tricky contraption.
  27. Bound to be talked about, debated and eviscerated far more than it's understood.
  28. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It's scary to have to puzzle out a plot line scene by scene -- scary and exhilarating, at least for an hour.
  29. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    The film takes this attempt to shatter narrative into little pieces about as far into incoherence as it can go; yet it is also full of odd, hypnotic menace.
  30. Feels mostly like an audacious prank.
  31. Once you've seen it all once I bet you'll wish you were watching "Groundhog Day" -- again.
  32. 40
    Whenever Harris or Tobolowsky come on-screen they stop Memento dead in its clever tracks. You want to tell Nolan to stop all the po-mo deconstructive game playing and pay attention to the two human beings in front of him.
  33. 38
    The dramatic content in Memento is as blank as Leonard's post-traumatic mental state.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 561 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 121
  1. Feb 22, 2011
    A Christopher Nolan's masterpiece, complex narrative is skillfully executed, keeping audiences guessing. Overall it's up to us, our interpretation, it's not just about the evidences Full Review »
  2. Feb 21, 2011
    Absolutely drop-dead brilliant. You just don't see film-making like this anymore. Christopher Nolan is the genius we"ve all been waiting for. Welcome to the second revival of great film-makers. It feels good. Full Review »
  3. Jul 5, 2013
    OK, you didn't expect that! Every way of the film, you think you know what's going to happen but you don't! it's got the right pace, right amount of suspense, and a brilliant twist. Christopher Nolan was making sure he was someone we should certainly pay attention to. Full Review »