It has been almost twenty years since Christopher Nolan’s Memento was released and quite frankly, there’s not been any other movie quite like it, not so much because of its story but because of the way it’s told.
It’s one of those movies where I felt I was watching it again for the first time. No matter how hard you try, how focused you’re, you’ll not be able to understand what each scene in the movie is exactly referring to because of the way it’s shot and that’s the genius of this movie that keeps it alive till now and the many years to come.
Memento starring Guy Pearce(Leonardo), Carrie-Anne Moss(Natalie) & Joe Pantoliano(Teddy) in pivotal roles is about a guy(Leonardo) with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife’s murderer.
Now, I’ll not get into the details of the plot as I want you to go through the trouble and excitement of watching the movie on your own if you haven’t watched it for some reason till now.
Without giving much away, the plot of Memento revolves around a guy named Leonardo whose wife was raped and murdered. Leonardo is able to take down one guy but the other one attacks Leonardo which leads to his memory loss condition.
The story progresses with Teddy and Natalie involved with Leonardo in different ways and how he conditions himself to stay on his path of vengeance by collecting facts rather than relying on memory.
Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the colour of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts. (Leonard Shelby, Memento)
What Makes This Movie So Unique
The screenplay of this film and the way it has been told is definitely why it stands the test of time.
Christopher Nolan in an interview said that he wants to give the same feeling to the audience as the protagonist of the film, Leonardo.
The only way to do it would be to somehow make the audience forget things that have happened. As this is not possible, the only other way is to hide information from the audience the same way it is hidden from Leonardo because he has already forgotten what happened to him 15 minutes ago.
The only way to do it would be to tell the story in reverse and present the audience with a lot of stuff to figure out on their own.
Now, there’s the tricky part with this kind of approach — there’s a risk that the audience might disconnect themselves from the character which is counterproductive as the whole structure was supposed to be built in such a way that the audience really closely attaches to the main character of the film and that’s where the story of Sammy Jankis comes into play.
For those of you who haven’t watched the movie yet, don’t read ahead.
The story of Sammy Jankis provides a kind of relief and restores sanity in the world that Christopher Nolan has created which helps the audience keep themselves on track.
It works like this — the audience might not understand what is happening in the story — cut to — the black and white timeline where Leonardo is narrating the story of Sammy Jankis which the audience totally understands.
This constant back and forth between both timelines keep the audience hooked and curious throughout the film without leaving them bored, confused or irritated.
It’s definitely a genre-defining movie from the time it was released to this day.
This movie has all the elements that can enhance this story as much as it can and provide avid movie buffs(like me) to get that mental stimulation that people would want.
The performance by Guy Pearce is absolutely commendable in this movie and the same goes for Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano.
Guy Pearce brings so much reality to his character whether it’s the black and white scenes or the coloured ones. People who’ve some experience in acting know how difficult it is to play a character as complex as this and to do it so effortlessly is downright marvellous.
Here’s a CTA for you, regardless of whether you’ve watched this movie or not, take out some time and watch it. Then head over to youtube, IMDb, search the web about this movie and you’ll understand so much more about it and the complexity of thought that has been put while making it. This is when you’ll truly appreciate this movie.