Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Start at the End

Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Guy Pierce, Joe Pantoliano, Carrie-Anne Moss
Released: 3/16/01
I had to watch this movie twice because it's one of those films where it's beneficiary to watch it a second time (or perhaps even a third or fourth or fifth time...) It's hard to talk about this movie without revealing any clues or spoilers, but I will do my best not to ruin this movie for anyone who maybe hasn't seen it yet, although I would highly recommend you see it!

Perhaps you know, even if you haven't seen Memento, that the whole movie's gimmick is that it starts at the end and ends at the beginning. Now I'm sure this isn't the first movie to do that (I'm assuming; I do know that they did an episode of Seinfeld in this manner, lol), but it's probably one of the most well-known films to do this formula. With each scene, the audience is given a piece to a clue that they didn't have before.

The film starts (or ends, I should say) with Leonard (Pierce) a man who can only retain his memory for a short period of time before he forgets what just happened to him. The last thing he does remember is his wife being murdered and after he attacked the perpetrator, his head was banged against the floor and that's how he developed his memory loss. His mission in life becomes to find the man who murdered his wife. Through detective work he finds out the man he is looking for is someone named John G. and he tattoos all the facts he finds on his body, so he's always reminded of what he's looking for. In fact, he has a tattoo across his chest that reads "John G. raped and murdered my wife". Now can you imagine if you were a tattoo artist and some guy wanted you to tattoo that across his chest? I'd be like, Ummmmm.....maybe you should talk to the police? Just saying.

While that plot of the film is told backwards, there's another subplot in the movie (shown in black and white) that moves forward where Leonard is talking on the phone to someone about a man named Sammy Jankins, who has a similar condition to his. Now I can't comment too much about this subplot without giving too much away, but it's a vital part to the story.

After watching Memento, you will no doubt have million of questions. I've read many very interesting theories about what really happened in the movie and they're all pretty plausible. I would suggest watching this movie (if you haven't already), give yourself a few days to mull it over, then watch it again and pay extra close attention to the black and white scenes.

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