Memento Paper

Submitted By amzer32
Words: 801
Pages: 4

One key element that separates humans from animals is memory. Who we are and who we become is shaped by our environment and equally as much, if not more, by the memories of our experiences. Memory is often unreliable though, and is easily influenced. The same event described by several different people will result in several different accounts. Despite memories being skewed by perspective they are one of the building blocks of our personality, and critical to our experiences as humans. Christopher Nolan’s 2000 movie Memento, through its color formatting, dialogue, point of view, and mosaic sequencing, is a compelling examination at how our interpretations of memories influence our reality. Memento stars Leonard Shelby, a former insurance investigator, who is trying to find the second man involved in the rape and murder of his wife. His goal is simply to take the life of the man to make up for the death of his own loved one. His investigation is hindered by the fact that Leonard has no short-term memory. During the attack on his wife Leonard suffered brain damage, and is unable to create short-term memories. Leonard’s long-term memory remains intact but he is unable to remember anything since the attack. To combat this condition he relies on a series of tattoos, Polaroid snap shots, and scribbled notes to seek out the killer. In his search Leonard is aided, or perhaps hindered, by Teddy and the mysterious Natalie. Through the development of his search the effects of how our memories guide our reality are displayed. Most movies that involve memories and loss of memories are written from the point of view of an outsider looking in; and they examine the effects that memory loss has on others. Memento takes this convention and flips it, allowing the viewers to see the world from the mind of someone with no ability to create memories. By showing the events from a first person point of view the viewer is unsure of not only the truth in others, but also in Leonard himself. This lack of knowledge allows many aspects of this movie to be interpreted, through our own memories and experiences, in more then one way. By not having a final “definitive” answer to the movies truths each moviegoer may have a completely different vision of the events within the movie. By creating a different vision for different viewers Nolan is able to demonstrate that our memories create our own realities and allow us to have different interpretations. Memento creates a sense of sympathy for the protagonist through the mosaic sequencing of events. The story begins at the end and ends the beginning. This approach seems confusing at first and creates chaos in the viewers mind. It is this approach that creates a sense of being adrift within the story line and allows viewers to “feel” how Leonard feels. Like Leonard we have no clear indication of what has happened before each moment in time. This mosaic approach allows the viewer to feel the same frustration that Leonard does. By not knowing the events that