Memento Essay, Research Paper
Memento directed by Christopher Nolan, is quite the rabble-rouser. The concepts and ideas the film conveys to the movie watching audience are a welcome, fresh change from the recent stagnation that American Film has endured. Mr. Nolan built this film off a concept that had nothing in common with the all too familiar current movie templates directors have been following in hopes to create the next box office smash. Although sometimes the movie seemed to become disjointed with too many segments to follow at once, it was none the less still a welcome change from the ridiculously repetitive suspense films of late. Now try to follow along, because the road does get somewhat twisty.
The film begins with what amounts to the end, with Leonard Shelby (Guy Pierce) executing a man named Teddy. A man we learn later on Leonard believes to be responsible for the rape and murder of his wife.
But is Leonard (an ex insurance agent) even murdering the correct man? The Polaroid says He is the one, kill him . Lost you already? Here lets clarify. Ever since his wife s rape and murder (in which Leonard sustained a serious head injury) Mr. Shelby has been unable to make new memories as he puts it. He remembers everything before and during the incident clearly, but everything he tries to place in his memory banks since then seems to fade as quickly as sunlight at dusk.
Being only able to hold onto new thoughts and experiences for a few minutes at the most, Shelby lives his life through a compulsively strict system of post-it-notes, tattooed facts on his body, and Polaroid photos to remember faces by. This system keeps him alive and functioning, but somewhat unable to avoid the deception that occurs around him.
After the film opens with the final moments, it then does a leap backwards in time to the scene previous. These backward leaps continue and in each scene Leonard is unaware of the events previous, which makes for a plot that twists constantly. Eventually the watcher reaches the beginning of the movie (or is it the end?) and gets to discover the stories true origin.
So essentially Nolan has created a film that plays in reverse. Is it confusing? Yes sometimes it is. Due to the reversed chronological order the film plays in, you are just as pressed to make the story connect as Leonard himself is. Scene by scene things seem to make more sense, and before you know it your mind is reeling while it tries to predict what happened previously (or if you follow the order the film plays in, what will happen next). This film requires strict attention, however because the story itself is so engaging, this causes no annoyance. Bathroom breaks are strictly prohibited with this feature, folks. Miss one of the segments and you are relegated into a state of confusion for the rest of the film.
Nolan s film is a welcome break from the brainless action films of late. It seems every film has a surprise ending nowadays, and yet this film ends with a surprise beginning. Bravo.