Some people may find this a little difficult to follow...
You will not get this film on the first playthrough.
And maybe not the second either.
Keep trying though. Because this film is fantastic. Guy Pearce plays Leonard Shelby, a man haunted by his wife's murder. He vows to hunt down and kill the man who killed her.
The twist is that Leonard has no short term memory. Although he remembers everything up to the night his wife died, he cannot remember anything that happened afterwards.
Unfazed by this Leonard tattoos every clue he finds on his body, as a permanent memento, and takes photographs of everything important.
The reason the film is so difficult to understand is that it does not play in chronological order. The opening sequence plays entirely backwards....we see a bullet return to a gun, and a man instantly revive from death. The other segments of the film are played forwards, but are in backwards chronological order.
In most films, characters travel from ignorance to knowledge, from a point where they know nothing til they know everything. Because of Leonard's unique situation, it is only at the begining of the story (which is the end of the film) that he knows anything, and only at the end of the story (the begining of the film) that he knows nothing.
The acting is perfect. Guy Pearce is absolutely fantstic in this role, and the other characters are nearly as good. The twists and turns as the plot draws to its unforseeable begining will keep you on the edge of your seat and thinking about the characters long after they've left the screen.
But don't go thinking this is only a thriller. Leonard's wry humour, and his clear love for his wife, (who he is unable to mourn, since every morning he wakes up having forgotten she's gone), means there is a lot more to it than that.
Since the film is now available on dvd, you can pause it, and watch sections over and over, which, for this film, is very helpful in understanding what is actually happening. There's also a hidden feature on the dvd enabling you to watch the film in chronological order. I don't advise this for the first time you watch it, since it ruins the effect, but the options there if you want it.
Summary: buy this dvd. If you take nothing else from this film you get to drool over Guy Pearce. Or Carrie Ann Moss, if she's more your type. Cute Actors. Always a bonus.