Memento (2001) Director: Christopher Nolan
The idea for Memento came from a screenplay idea by Christopher Nolan’s brother, Jonathan Nolan. Memento is the second feature film by Nolan, the first being self-funded called Following.
Guy Pearce stars in Memento as a man suffering from acute amnesia, in which he can only remember things that happened within the last five minutes. He uses a collection of photographs and tattoos to trace his history and arrive at the man who killed his wife. Throughout the whole film the audience is left guessing. Who do we trust? Can we trust an undercover officer? Can we trust the main character? His narrator? His clues? The people he meets? The story is cleverly told through two narratives in the film -one, a black and white series of flashbacks, told backwards; the other in color happening in the present moment. Eventually the two meet up in the end.
Memento has been cited by leading scientists as an accurate portrayal of amnesia. Each scene begins en media res, and we have no context, much like the main character. It is jarring and audiences leave the film wondering what has been accomplished? Perhaps a deeper sense of disorientation.
Memento is a curious film and I am not entirely sure what to do with it. It is a gritty, neo-noir, mystery film in the vein of Hitchcock. Perhaps the biggest plot-hole in the film is that the main character can remember nothing after the death of his wife, so how can he remember he has short-term memory loss? Still a terrific film by one of the greatest modern directors.