These days, it’s hard to remember a time when director Christopher Nolan wasn’t a household name. Thanks to his back-to-basics reimagining of the Batman mythos in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Nolan became a sought after director known for producing mind-bending works such as Interstellar and Inception, solidifying his stance among both audiences and critics with his unique takes on genre films. There was a period, however, when the name Nolan didn’t mean much to movie fans. That all began to change with the release of a single film.
Memento was a breath of fresh air when it was first released in 2000. Starring Guy Pearce, the film wowed audiences the world over with its unusual, backwards structure. Pearce starred as Leonard, a once normal man suffering from anterograde amnesia, which prevents him from forming new memories, as he searches for his wife’s killer. It was the kind of high concept thriller for which Nolan would come to be known, setting the stage for his wildly successful ascent as one of the strongest directors working today. The film, his second, is considered by many to be a modern classic and has become a sort of standard bearer for modern noir. It’s also the latest film to get the remake treatment from Hollywood.
THR is reporting that AMBI Pictures has given a greenlight for a Memento remake, following the acquisition of Exclusive Media Group’s library of films last week. The library includes over 400 films, including the likes of Donnie Darko, Apocolypto, and Rush. In a statement last week, AMBI heads Andrea Ieovolino and Monika Bacardi hinted that they would be looking at remake and sequel opportunities as a way to increase the studio’s presence. Ieovolino added:
“The acquisition of the Exclusive Media Group library plays into our formula for building the Ambi brand by instantly giving us hundreds of titles across multiple genres that will have long lives with audiences who, with today’s technology, consume content more rapidly than ever before.”
No details have been released about the plans for the Memento remake, but the idea is sure to spark the ire of movie fans who are growing increasingly weary of the Hollywood’s recent remake mania. Added to this, Memento is held in such high esteem that any attempt at remaking it seems destined to be met with derision and contempt.
It’s difficult not to view this move as a way to try and cash in on the works of others. AMBI isn’t exactly a heavy hitter in the marketplace and could probably stand to generate some buzz for their studio and their projects. This announcement certainly does that, but the backlash could be insurmountable. Memento is, after all, a highly loved film whose genius remains mostly unquestioned by critics and fans. Given the love for the original, it’s hard to see any scenario where a remake is met with financial success, even with the buzz the move is sure to generate.
All in all, it seems like a bad move on behalf of the studio. While nothing is inherently wrong with remakes in and of themselves, it’s important that any new imagining be able to bring something new and interesting to the original story. Far be it from me to say, but, as is, the original Memento is more or less perfect. The film was such a creative and innovative twist on the noir genre that it’s sure to be hard to top.
Then again, Nolan himself is no stranger to remakes. His third film, Insomnia, was a remake of a Norwegian film that could also be argued as unnecessary. As difficult and painful as it might be to admit, perhaps there is another young director out there eager to make their name surprising us with a decent remake. Time will tell, of course.
We'll bring you more information on the Memento remake as it becomes available.