Leonard Shelby is a clever investigator of a company of life’s insurances. Young and happily married, Leonard enjoys of a normal life. Unfortunately, all his world turns upside-down when two thief enter into his home one night. During the assault, the robbers rape and kill Leonard’s wife, and Leonard receives a strong hit provoking him a brain injury. At the end, one of the attackers dies but the other manages to escape. After the tragedy, Leonard develops a mental alteration due to his contusion known as the short-term memory loss: he only can remember the things during 5 minutes, after that, he forgets everything and his memories back to the starting point, the assault at his house. Repudiate by the cops, Leonard will try to find the killer of his wife by his own despite of his mental condition. Soon, he will understand that his research for vengeance means his only reason for living.
In my opinion, that’s a good way to present Memento (2000), the second picture of the British director, Christopher Nolan. Of course, the movie is much more than that paragraph. It’s strange but in the last days I hear a lot of times the name of this picture. Well, maybe it’s not so strange, taking account that is one of my favourite movies; our movies walk always with us. I think that Memento is a masterpiece, but this is that kind of opinions that half part of the world agrees but the other not; so maybe I have the half of your attention. The truth is that, like The Tree of Life (which I already talked it in other post), this is a rare piece of art. An atypical picture. Visually & narratively, it’s constructed in a different way of everything that has been done.
You have this simple scenario. You take a good dose of intrigue and add an incredible script, full of ambiguous characters, and even that you will not be closer to this picture. Memento is an experience; you are going to have to use your brain in order to fix the pieces of the puzzle and, probably, at the end, you will still having questions. Constructed as a thriller of mystery and crime, close to the film noir, the movie leaves the audience to the same shoes as Leonard, reproducing his mental affection to the screen; at the end, you start the loss the sense of your memories. You forget some detail? I opened the eyes during the whole movie?
Two stories, but the same protagonist. One in black/white and the other in colour. One shows the events in chronological order and the other shows the events in dis-chronological order (going in reverse). So you always have to try to understand how the main character had arrive to a certain situation only knowing what is going to happening him after. Strange, isn’t? Both stories about Leonard are going to converge on the space and the time, but When? How? and Why?
The movie has so many lectures and details that is hard to take in mind each of one. The tattoos, the notes, the phrases, the clues, etc. You discover this tragic character following backwards his steps, finding all the lies and all the person who had lead him to what he is. The truth is that I like this film for many reasons, and much of them maybe don’t allow it to gain the category of the best movie ever, but in my case, it’s a movie that I never tire to watch it even that I remember it by rote. It’s a simple picture (no special effects, no explosions, no 3d), the scripts and dialogues are amazing, the plot is so original and well constructed that the intrigue continues even after finish the movie. Actually, I have to ration myself in order to watch it; I don’t want to wear away the film. My idea is to forget the movie, in order to never loose the emotion, the surprise. Like Leonard: forget for continue.