Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan, has a crazy narrative which moves backwards, starting at the very end then moving to the beginning. He also has one that moves forward, a series of phone conversations put in between scenes, where Leonard, the main character who is an insurance investigator, is talking to a police officer about Sammy Jenkis. Sammy Jenkis is a client of Lenny’s insurance company, a person with the same, but more severe case, short term memory problem.
Lenny is an investigator, for claims, made by customers for the insurance company. He is on a mission to find and kill a man, John or James G, who causes his constant short term memory loss and the rape and murder of his wife. One of the major themes in this movie is memory versus facts. Nolan gives his audience the ending and the audience craves to know what happened in the beginning, which is very unusual for a movie. One of the most impacting scenes was the opening shot where everything is shown in true reverse.
It starts with a fully developed photograph slowly fading to an undeveloped picture, and then it is taken back into the camera. We also see Teddy getting shot in this backwards sequence, it shows the bullet go back into the gun and Teddy alive. It was shot beautifully and was amazing to watch. This movie has restricted narration with a twist, we learn right along with the main character, at the very same time as he does, but yet he can’t remember things, so he doesn’t really ever learn. This is why it is not a very big deal that the story is told backwards.
This movie has a fast pace and rhythm. I think the acting was great; Guy Pierce played this role really well, he was very believable. Memento was shot in color and in black and white. Strangely, the scenes that move forward are in black and white and the ones that start from the end and work their way to the beginning are in color. Lenny, the main character, takes a picture of the last thing he had done in the film, killing teddy. The movie then starts at the beginning to show how he got there.
Lenny uses a Polaroid camera to take pictures of people, places, and things. On each picture he writes a caption on the front or back to describe each person or place giving a name and what they have to do with him. He knows where he is living at by the picture he took; he knows that a woman Natalie will help him out of pity. Lenny goes by pure instinct that the writing is his. Some how he knows, in one scene outside of Natalie’s house Teddy is sitting in Lenny’s car waiting for him. He tells him not to trust Natalie, and to write it down.
When he finally listened to Teddy, he wrote it down in different handwriting so he would know not to believe what he wrote, it wasn’t true. Through the series of pictures he was able to find or realize “the bad guy”, was Teddy. He might not have been the person who killed his wife, but it still gave him satisfaction, for that three minutes. Throughout the movie Lenny flashes back to memories of him and his wife together. He also has a main sequence throughout the movie where Lenny is on the phone, he is telling someone a series of memories about Sammy Jenkis.
Some of the stories told seem quite odd because it seems to be very parallel with his life. He keeps a tattoo on his hand that says remember Sammy Jenkis. The reason why they are so oddly the same is because Lenny puts his condition on Sammy so he can explain and remember his own condition. You can not always depend on memories, that is why he used the camera, for facts. “Memory is unreliable. Writing is more true, like police reports versus eye witness accounts. ” Lenny says. With that, subconsciously in his mind, Lenny makes sure he gets the facts organized and written down.
He keeps his system going, unlike Sammy Jenkis, pictures in coat pocket and facts tattooed on his body; he also keeps a map going with pictures on it. He has a file on his wife’s murder, along with a police report. The only difference between him and Sammy was Lenny had a purpose, Sammy didn’t. Unfortunately the truth got all bunched up because of Teddy. Facts were missing out of the police file. Most likely Teddy took out important information so he would be able to have Lenny carry out his dirty work. If Teddy didn’t do that then at least Lenny could at least read the rapist was caught, by him.
Then again, if that was the case Lenny wouldn’t have anything to live for, everyday, multiple time a day, he would have to go through the same thing his wife is dead. Memento is a wonderful movie. It was the most interestingly told story I have ever seen. Christopher Nolan did an excellent job of directing this film. I think this movie was edited together in such a way that if you played each scene in reverse order that it would still make perfect sense. This movie was dependent on memory and fact. Memento is one of those movies you could see again and again. This movie is excellent.