2000: Memento

Cover of "Memento"

Cover of Memento

Memento, is another brilliant movie from a brilliant director, Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight), along with help from his brother, Jonathan Nolan. Memento, focuses on the character, Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), who has short-term memory loss due to an incident in his life, therefore failing to produce new memories (anterograde amnesia). Through the use of notes written down and tattooed on his body,  he goes through his day-to-day life, in search of the person who raped and murdered his wife.

Another well-thought and cleverly directed piece of film from Nolan, this movie occurs in different segments, with the first scene of the movie being the last scene of the story; and from here, it works its way backwards to the beginning of the story, piecing together the events that lead up to its preceding part of the story. And all the while through this, there are numerous scenes shown in black and white, which are in fact in chronological order, showing events soon after Leonard’s injury, as opposed to the rest of the movie. As you keep watching, you soon realise that the coloured scenes and the black & white scenes alternate, and soon enough clash half-way through the movie, bringing both storylines together as one. An incredibly clever way of depicting a story, which I imagine must have been quite difficult to correctly put together.

The first scene of the movie (the last scene of the story) shows Leonard having killed Teddy Gammell (Joe Pantoliano). As the story goes on, it shows Leonard acquainting with a woman, Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss). All the time, Leonard uses the application of taking photographs of the people whom he meets, leaving little notes with these photos, within the 2-3 minute timeframe that he has before the new memory disappears from his knowledge of existence.

As the movie goes on, the events continue to unfold, and as we get closer and closer to the first scene of the story (the final scene of the movie) we learn what is actually going on. For those of you who have scene the movie, you will know that at the end, it turns out that Leonard had in fact found the killer of his wife, whom he had killed over a year ago; and all the mean while, it was in fact he who killed his wife, with an insulin overdose (which he confused with the story of a made up patient with whom he believed he was involved with, who suffered from a unique and severe case of anterograde amnesia, Sammy Jankis). Leonard had somewhat created another reality to ignore this fact, and due to his amnesia, forgets the true events and everyday, beginning the same cycle, looking for the ‘killer of his wife’. Although, there are numerous suggestions for the ending as to why he leads the life he does every day of his life. It would seem that he realises this at the end, but as a result of his condition, fails to remember it.

Memento is perhaps one of the most complexly made movies I have ever seen; and for that, I love it. It requires you to stay alert throughout, having to think about what is going on. As one scene finishes, you see its preceding scene, which overlaps with the scene you have just watched, allowing you to realise the scenes are linked, concurrently, somewhat resembling the memory of an amnesiac, being confusing and having memories missing, thus making little sense. This is another movie that really makes you think once you’ve watched it, with it questioning reality and what you believe to be real.

It allows us to live the life of someone experiencing anterograde amnesia, but with an amazing twist to their life, which in effect, really makes you think about the weirdly wonderful, yet sometimes unfortunate, way in which the human mind works, whilst at the same time leaving the audience thinking about what is real and what isn’t. The story also leaves a lot of areas open for debate. This movie very much concerns the idea of creating another life, to deny the facts of a true life that was lived to be able to cope with living. And although similar to other movies, this movie manages to do this in a very unique and intriguing manner, which I loved. With great performances and a brilliantly designed storyline, it’s just another classic from Christopher Nolan.

By Manpreet Singh


One Comment on “2000: Memento”

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