Memento is a psychological thriller directed by Christopher Nolan in 2000. The story follows Leonard Shelby, a short term memory loss sufferer, trying to find his wife's killer. However the whole film is shown in reverse order leaving the viewer to question and remember each scene. "There are some lateral moves and flashbacks that illuminate, or confuse, the issue." (Ebert, 2001). By running the film backwards, Nolan is able to control the way the audience is thinking and lead them down many paths in which in some cases turn out to be dead ends. For example, when we are first introduced to Natalie, we are lead to believe that she is a friend of Leonard's and is only trying to help. But as the film progresses, it reveals that Natalie is not what she seemed and is in fact using Leonard's mental illness to her advantage.
Nolan also leaves little notes throughout the film in which he wants the audience to remember in order to use again further on in the film, much as the same as Leonard's tattoo reminders. "The answer comes in fragments, a jumbled tale of violence and double-cross" (Bradshaw, 2000). An example of this would be Leonard finds out that his car window is broken and stays this way for most of the film until it reveals how the window was smashed. Another note that we are forced to remember is a scene showing a flashback to Leonard pinching his wife's leg; this however is revealed in the plot twist that the pinch was in fact an insulin shot, exactly the same as the Sammy Jankis story Leonard has been telling throughout the film.
Nolan drops subtle hints that perhaps Leonard is not thinking straight, such as shot showing Sammy Jankis sitting in a mental institution but in a quick flash it shows Leonard sitting in Sammy's place, seen in Figure 3.
Nolan's technique of mind-boggling storytelling in this film all helps create an even better plot twist ending. "He's always been at his best when he's taking an eggbeater to moviegoers' brains." (Nashawaty, 2011). Memento is a film in which can be seen to have influenced many films that have been released since. You are able to see the same methods in Inception, another hit film directed by Christopher Nolan. I was also reminded of Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island in the way it uses heart wrenching plot twists.
Bradshaw, P (2000) Memento Film Review, In: The Guardian [online] http://www.theguardian.com/film/2000/oct/20/1 (Accessed 11/03/14)
Ebert, R (2000) Memento Film Review, http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/memento-2001
Nashawaty, C (2011) Memento Film Review, http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20466686,00.html
Figure 1, Memento (2000) Christopher Nolan [Film Poster] USA, Newmarket Capital Group http://www.impawards.com/2001/memento_xlg.html (Accessed 11/03/14)
Figure 2, Memento (2000) Christopher Nolan [Film Still] USA, Newmarket Capital Group http://moviefilmreviews.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/memento_01.jpg (Accessed 11/03/14)
Figure 3, Memento (2000) Christopher Nolan [Film Still] USA, Newmarket Capital Group http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6afiffmmY1rwjvx0o1_400.jpg (Accessed 11/03/14)