R6 -Memento - Feature Movie
Do you have a tendency to complain (or at times, brag) about your great, but short memory? It can't be any worse than that of Leonardo Shelby, an ex-insurance investigator who suffers from anterograde amnesia. In short, since the time of a trauma (there are numerous causes for one to form), one becomes unable to form new memories, while long-term memories remain intact. One suffering from anterograde amnesia might just suddenly forget what they're doing and “start fresh”. --->
Spoiler disclaimer: This review is aimed for people familiar with the movie. If you haven’t watched it and don't mind spoiling, stay on board. Therefore, people who haven't seen it yet are planning to, see yourselves to the end of the review.
---> But our good guy Lenny came up with a solution to overcome this struggle. A his sort of way to cope. Lenny takes tattoos of important information all over his body and captures polaroid photos scribbled with notes. What is the purpose of this? Let’s rewind to the moment he received the disability.
Leonard returns home only to find none welcoming him. He helps himself upstairs and discovers two invaders in his home. Lenny gets his gun and bashes into the bathroom, where the invaders were caught killing (after raping) his wife. Lenny manages to eliminate one. That victory is shortlived when the other one throws him into a mirror, burning the last permanent memory into the poor guy’s mind. Leonard makes finding this other killer his life goal, recording clues and facts about his target, mainly on his skin. ”John G.” must be found and killed.
Let me introduce Teddy. Teddyyy! Good guy Teddy here helps Lenny track down his wife’s killer, meanwhile putting up with his shenanigans. Namely, the repeated hostile situations where Lenny doesn’t trust his guts. Everytime they meet, Teddy has to convince him that they’re on the same team. You see, whatever is written on the polaroids and his skin is Lenny’s truth. If he has written not to trust somebody, that’s what he’s going to believe most of the time. On the backside of the photo of Teddy, there’s written ”Do not believe his lies”. Weird, right?
Leonard finally has everything he needs to catch the perpetrator, ”John G.”. After confronting and killing him, his mission is finally complete. He produces a polaroid photo of the body and hides it. The body, I mean. He ends up burning the photo, but more on that later. Apparently “John G.” was not all that dead and whispers a name that rings bells in his mind. A name of a someone he isn’t supposed to know, at least not him. Teddy arrives on scene as always and introduces himself for the thousandth time. Teddy has lots of explaining to do. “John G.” isn't supposed to know the name he spilled out.
Turns out, Teddy helped Leonard find and kill the real perpetrator a year ago. Lenny just ends up forgetting he did, like always. There’s a lot of “John Gees” in the world. Hell, even Teddy's real name is 'John Gammell'. He has been using the poor amnesic to tail after guys Leonard thought to be his wife’s murderers. This guy was no different, he just forgets about it afterwards. If that’s all there is to it, what is there to believe? Could Lenny believe even his own clues if he’s been deluded this whole time.
“I’m not a killer. I’m just someone who wanted to make things right. Can I just let myself forget what you’ve told me? Can I just let myself forget what you made me do? You think I just want another puzzle to solve? Another “John G.” to look for?
“You’re a “John G.”. So you can be my John G.”
Leonard takes the photo with Teddy on it and writes “Do not believe his lies” on the backside.
“Now, where was I?”
Let me ask you. Who is to be trusted?
Now, everyone who has seen the movie can agree when I say that this is some brilliantly scripted screenplay. To the rest, I just basically spoiled the main mystery without building a convincing passage to it. Pardon me. There are so many meta-levels in this movie that I just won’t delve into. What I just described to you was the premise of the movie and the basic mystery-resolve plotline.
What makes this movie so unique was it’s way of presentation. Imagine yourself reading a book, but reading it backwards. You’re reading like normal, but instead of advancing to the next page, you’re turning a page backwards. This is how Memento presents itself. Sounds confusing, but it works in this strange way. We’re going chronologically backwards, one scene at a time. The first thing you’ll see is Lenny killing Teddy. The last thing you’ll see is Lenny marking Teddy for death.
By following the narration of a memory impaired crusader, which alone sounds inconceivable, you’re merging with their way of viewing. You’re caught up in the jungle of delusion. As a viewer, Instead of focusing on the outcome, you’re finding out how things built up to that moment. Suddenly you’re the one with amnesia. Honestly, this kind of storytelling could work with any mystery.
But who am I to tell? I can't remember it all that well.
December 20th, 2018