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Due to the sheer amount of review material we receive it's not always possible to cover everything. Unfortunately this means that some deserving titles go unreviewed, so to combat this I've decided to put together a series of 'mini reviews' that will focus more on the technical side of things than the features themselves. Let's face it, most people can make up their own minds when it comes to the films they like, but not everyone has the luxury of watching screeners ahead of time to judge whether or not a disc is worth their money. First up is Pathé's new release of the Christopher Nolan feature, Memento.

Feature


Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) remembers everything up until the night his wife was brutally raped and murdered. Since that fateful evening he has suffered from short-term memory loss and cannot recall places, people and events just minutes after he has been exposed to them. Determined to uncover why his wife was killed, Leonard uses a unique system of tattoos, notes and Polaroids to store vital clues about the identity of her killer. Leonard is aided in his quest by a number of people who profess friendship, but can a man with no memory really ever trust anyone?

Video


Visually the Blu-ray's 2.35:1 (1080/24p AVC) transfer is a step up from the DVD offerings (or at least the UK release I own). The image is generally very pleasing, with a naturalistic palette and reasonable detail that allows you to pick out tiny elements like the stubble on Lenny's chin, although it's not the sort of razor-sharp quality often associated with a Blu-ray release. The high-contrast black and white sequences are especially striking and shadow detail remains good, if not exemplary, throughout. The print is generally in pretty good shape, although film artefacts in the form of black and white flecks can be seen from time to time. Grain is light and consistent and I didn't spot any egregious digital tinkering in the form of edge enhancement or DNR. On the whole this is a solid effort that eclipses the up-scaled DVD by quite some way.

Audio


The disc offers a choice between Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks, although annoyingly it defaults to the lossy track. Either way neither track is particularly taxed by the source material, being that Memento is a dialogue-driven piece. Thankfully this comes across clearly and crisply for the entirety of the film. The surround channels are used fairly sparingly for ambience and there are some discrete touches from time to time (a phone ringing off to the right, a horn honking as a car drives by etc.), but these moments are few and far between. Even so, Memento's soundtrack is perfectly suited to the film and is very atmospheric.

*Note* It has recently come to my attention that the audio on this Blu-ray is incorrectly pitched. Comparisons with the US version reveal that the UK soundtrack sounds 'lower' than it should, but it might not be obvious unless you are intimately familiar with the film or have perfect pitch. There is also a very brief 'pop' at the 01:14:59 mark. Even with these issues the majority of viewers will probably be more than happy with the audio, but I felt obliged to update the review as soon as I became aware of the problems.

Extras


The Blu-ray release of Memento includes pretty much everything that a fan could want. You have a commentary track from director Christopher Nolan, interviews, scene deconstructions, a split screen shooting script, galleries, trailers and the Memento Mori short story. There's even a hidden version of the film for the die-hard fans if you have the patience to look for it (if not, just check out the Easter egg link on the right of this page). The commentary track is very informative and the split-screen version allows you to see how the finished film differs from the shooting script, so both are very worthy inclusions. The commentary track actually has three random endings, which is a nice touch. Thankfully you can used the audio button to flip between them so you don't have to watch the whole film just to hear them all. I believe everything from the previous UK DVD release is replicated here, so Pathé's disc beats the old Sony Blu-ray offering hands down in this category.

Overall


Memento is a very accomplished thriller from one of today's leading directors. Each member of the principal cast delivers a fine performance, particularly Guy Pearce and Joe Pantoliano, and the supporting players are also impressive. Technically this Blu-ray is a sound improvement over the standard-definition alternatives, particularly in the video department. The inclusion of the alternate version of the film by way of a hidden Easter egg is a welcome one, but I can't help thinking that the distributor missed a trick by not presenting it in HD. Even so, the rest of the supplemental package is impressive and I urge all fans of the film to check the disc out.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review
 Memento Mini Review


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