22 July 2007


No, I'm not about to complain of not sleeping (though co-incidentally I haven't been, of late).

Instead I refer to the films bearing this title. I was just about to head to bed last night having finished working my way through the story mode of Rainbow Six: Vegas when, as I switched off the 360, the beginning of the Christopher Nolan (director of Memento) remake was showing on the Beeb. I ended up getting drawn in, sitting through and thoroughly enjoying it, and then getting far less sleep than I would have otherwise.

I had been avoiding seeing this version for years, though I suspect that had I seen Memento earlier and twigged it had the same director I would have possibly not taken this approach. I ended up being pleasantly surprised by the way it had been handled, reminded of how stunning I had found the original (Norwegian) version starring Stellan Skarsgard.

That film had shown on Channel 4 at some ungodly hour (it started at 2.30 on a Tuesday morning, as I recall) that fit with the title, but I had caught wind of it and found the short blurb intriguing, so I set the video for it - not wanting to mess up my circadian rhythms unduly. What I ended up watching the next day transfixed me. The characters were strong, nuanced individuals. The plot was byzantine and unauthodox. The setting bleak and perfectly suited to the dark tale unfolding. The portrayals I remember as being spot on and convincing. It all added up to a compelling film, and one that left a distinct impression.

So when I heard it was being re-made by Hollywood I was very dubious. Doubtless, I thought, it would remove all the nuances, the strengths and the artistic depth that had been present in the film I had loved - all for ensuring commercial success.

Six years on, I now know I was wrong. The casting worked, the direction worked, the script re-working worked and, despite being pre-disposed to disliking it, I was again captivated by this twisted story of drive, intent, guilt and what it can do to a man. Every moment I was watching it, I was left thinking how well written it is, how stunningly conceived. It plays to my views of psychological horror - particularly the pivotal early scene where the twist burgeons into life and sat nicely with my psyche at present (as hinted at by my recent RPG purchases, I have a hankering for well-done "horror" right now).

Perhaps the best thing I can say, though, is that seeing this finally motivated me to do what I have meant to for a long time, and acquire the original on DVD, totally re-affirming my enjoyment for a masterwork of scripting and plotting.

1 comment:

Garry G said...

I'm falling behind a bit due to the old cycling injuries and my Dad having open-heart surgery today but given a chance I'll get right back on the horse and ignore all these doing at least a half-decent job comments. ;)