tek's rating:

Memento (R)
A.V. Club; IMDb; official website*; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This came out in 2000, and it was very well received, so I always wanted to see it. But I didn't get around to it until 2014. And after I watched it, when I was about to start writing this review, my first thought to was to put it under "weird movies," but then I changed my mind and went with "art films." Though I really do think it's equal parts "art" and "weird." (But then, art films often are weird.) Anyway, I definitely liked it, though I'm not sure I'd ever want to watch it again. Unless maybe I watched it with the scenes in chronological order. Because, um... in case you're unaware, the movie basically takes place in reverse order. Well, the main scenes are in color, and each one takes place a bit before the previous one. But there are also black & white scenes that come between the color scenes, and I guess those ones happen forwards instead of backwards, though I couldn't really keep track of what was going on with them. (It's perhaps ironic that I found the reverse order scenes a bit easier to follow, but even they threw me, now and then.) And I'm really not clear on when the forward scenes happened in relation to the reverse scenes. All of which is probably okay, because the movie is designed to screw with your head. It's just easier for it to do so with mine, because my head's screwy to begin with. And it's all about the main character's inability to form new memories, which I can kind of relate to in the sense that I... well, I don't have that problem, but my memory sucks so much that I can easily forget things I saw in even a normal movie, while I'm watching it. So... yeah.

Anyway, it starts with this guy, Leonard Shelby, killing a guy named Teddy. And from there, the film works backwards to show us the events leading up to that, so that the final scene of the movie is the first chronologically. Which means that for pretty much the whole movie, Teddy is alive. But every time Leonard meets him, it's like meeting him for the first time... because Leonard has anterograde amensia. He apparently remembers his whole life up until the point when his wife was raped and murdered, and in the same incident, Leonard himself suffered a head injury that brought on his current condition. Ever since the incident, he basically just remembers things for the course of a single scene. (This is a condition that's been seen in other movies that came out after this one, though I don't think it works quite the same way from movie to movie, especially because it's sometimes played as comedy rather than drama. Incidentally, it also sort of reminds me of the relationship between the Doctor and River Song in Doctor Who, except that that's because of time travel rather than amnesia.) So... Leonard writes himself notes, some of them in the form of tattoos, and takes lots of Polaroid pictures (on which he also writes notes).

He doesn't even know how long it's been since the incident (which is odd, because he has a thick case file, which you'd think would include the date, but then again, several pages are missing). But he's been investigating the case, trying to find the man who killed his wife, so that he can kill him. And somehow Teddy is a part of that investigation... he acts like a friend, but Leonard's photo of him says "don't trust his lies." Another important person is a woman named Natalie, who may be helping Leonard or may just be using him to help her with a problem of her own. (Come to think of it, I also could have filed this review under "film noir.")

Anyway... I guess I don't really want to say any more than that about the plot. Though I'm still not entirely sure what to believe. But it's definitely an interesting movie, and I'm glad to have finally seen it. I kind of feel like I should be analyzing it more, but... I dunno, I guess I just don't really want to. (And I think we've all figured out by now that it's safest not to try too hard to analyze Christopher Nolan movies, if you value your sanity. And I don't have an abundance of sanity, to begin with.)


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