Leonard Shelby, who has a short term memory has been chasing the guy who raped and murdered his wife by breaking into his house. But his search is complicated by the fact that he can’t make new memories since the accident.
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When it comes to ‘messing around with minds through movies’, Christopher Nolan is the name that creates the story behind such films.
Leonard (Guy Pearce) has no emotions or stories in his mind. He has witnessed the violent death of his wife and is determined to avenge it. But he has had short-term memory loss ever since the death and has to make copious notes to keep a track of daily tasks and the tattoos on his body that remind him about the past and what has to be done in present to proceed towards future.
The movie begins with a tremendous idea where a polaroid photogragh fades upon waving, the scene rolls in reverse absolutely. In fact the entire film is depicted in reverse. We can experience the movie from ending towards beginning, moving forward in time but backwards in narrating the story. Nolan has always been an ultimate storyteller by using his unique skill of crafting the scene in backwards, probably creating a time inversion for stunning the audience. The film’s deep backward and chasm of time is for our entertainment and has nothing to do with Leonards condition.
The narrative of Memento is comprised of two sequences, one in black and white and the other in color. The black and white sequence runs in forward order, whereas the color sequence runs in reverse order. The majority of the black and white sequences are set within Leonard’s motel room.
“Memento” is a devilish and mesmerizing experience for story wanderers. Where Pearce plays the role of an absolute absconder by patiently creating maps, photographs, notes and explains over and over that he has to talk fast because in a few minutes his memory will start to fade.
One striking element of the film is a series of flashbacks to a case Leonard investigated when he worked as an Insurance agent. This involves a man named Sammy, who appears to have amnesia, although he seems otherwise just like good old Sammy. His wife, a diabetic, can’t be sure he is faking his condition or if it’s something else, and arranges a test. This story has interrelation to Leonard’s own circumstances, in an indirect way.
The other major characters are Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), and Teddy (Joe Pantoliano). Leaonard keeps a Polaroid of Natalie inscribed: “She has also lost someone. She will help you out of pity.” Their relationship keeps connecting over from the beginning. As for Teddy, his identity and role shifts mysteriously throughout the film.