A non-linear revenge saga, or is Memento just that? Memento has, since its release, made audiences scratch its heads, and Nolan loves a reasonable haywire timeline in his protagonist’s life. Although Memento looks ambiguous on the surface, the ending can be explained if you could observe the intricate details Nolan has embedded in this movie.
What is the movie, Memento actually about?
The film opens with a Polaroid snapshot that fades rather than developing, yet each scene advances in time. There are a few lateral motions and flashbacks that elucidate or complicate the situation. Effectively, Leonard is lost in time and space, and as a result, so are we.
Leonard Shelby is introduced in Memento (Guy Pearce). Shelby is a crime victim and former insurance investigator looking for the culprit who murdered and raped his wife. This is a relatively simple task in and of itself. The film, on the other hand, is not. Shelby faces difficulties since the incident caused irreversible brain damage, and he can no longer retain his memories.
Is the time flow of the movie linear?
If Leonard continues to forget what has previously occurred, the audience suffers from the opposite state. Because the narrative is narrated backward, we start at the finish and work our way back to the beginning. In the part of Leonard Shelby, Pearce is genuinely astonishing. It’s unsettling and, at times, unpleasant to watch him try to sort through the facts, recover what he’s lost, and identify the actual thoughts, goals, and motivations of people who claim to be helping him. Just keep in mind that everything we believe we know about Leonard based on his clothing, automobile, money, compulsion, and moral conviction is as reliable as everything we can see.
Guy Pearce plays Leonard, and his portrayal is oddly compelling given that the character has no emotional experience by definition. He saw his wife’s horrific death and is desperate to avenge it. However, he has suffered from short-term memory loss since the tragedy and must take extensive notes—he even has memoranda inked on his body as reminders.
Because they do not rely on emotional response, catharsis, or deception, these films are risky for directors. They don’t surprise the viewers with emotions or provide easy-out intense moments. The only moment of surprise, in this case, is the ending of Memento. These films are fantastic, and to put it frankly; you have to be very near to genius to connect with them. Memento is one such film.
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Does the audience know the secret already?
Although Harold Pinter achieved it in Betrayal, Nolan’s investigation of memories and time, tinkering with storytelling and form, is distinctive, inventive, and demanding. You’re unlikely to like the film if you can’t wrap your head around its ideas, concepts, and notions. In a world when films are frequently presented as a number game, Nolan has created a film that leaves the canvas empty and challenges us, the viewers, to push the narrative. It’s a brave move.
Like Shelby, we see brief extracts and need to work with him just to put the jigsaw together. We need to find out how to believe and determine which evidence is relevant or even authentic. Memento is a film that necessitates a degree of intelligence. It shines with the natural suspense of following a guy desperate to right the worst mistake in his life while having no recollection of it.
The adventure itself is never fully disclosed, which is another hallmark of a genuinely intelligent picture. It would have been an easy way out for Nolan to give his answers or merely to rely on the possibly frightening emotions involved in this situation. At no time during this procedure does Nolan take the easy way out. He kept the audience in the hook and reveals it at the ending, making memento the masterpiece it is. Instead, in this sleek, well-produced, and wonderfully photographed film, he keeps nearly every option open.
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Is what is shown in Momento real?
Anterograde amnesia is a disorder that hinders a person’s capacity to generate new memories. Here’s where things get a little complicated: Leonard appears to develop new memory, as we witness him snapping Polaroid photos and writing important information on them throughout the color sequences. He is doing this to preserve memories that he knows will soon trickle away. While Leonard’s brain is incapable of recording long-term remembering, it can record “working memory”. Or the short-term memory necessary to have a discussion or dial a phone call. Or, in this example, to comment on a Polaroid photograph.
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Is there a particular theme to this movie?
The essential theme is the wound: Leonard opens the film with two terrible and unexplained scratch wounds on his left cheek, shown in various stages of bloom in subsequent sequences, just like the Polaroids Leonard snaps. And when Leonard meets Natalie (Moss), a bartender and a local drug dealer partner, she, too, has a red welt on her face and a split lip.
Ending of Memento Explained
What happens when Leonard murders Jimmy?
When Leonard murders Jimmy at the climax of the film, the ailing Teddy also claims that Leonard’s wife survived the assault and that the Sammy Jankis narrative was essentially Leonard’s account. Leonard had accidentally murdered his wife with an insulin overdose and superimposed the tale onto somebody else to escape the grief.
Teddy informs Leonard that the two of them hunted down and murdered Leonard’s wife’s assailant over a year ago and even gives him a Polaroid of an ecstatic, blood-soaked Leonard pointing to a tattoo-free region on his chest to prove it. He informs Leonard that, even after this, the memories refused to accept it; thus, with plenty of shady John G.’s out there could do with some street justice, Teddy had just contrived the situation. Teddy discloses that his given name is John G. It’s worth noting that Teddy’s disclosure might be genuine, completely untrue, or a combination of the two.
So how does this explain Memento’s ending?
Pay attention to the very last sentences. Leonard is deceiving himself. Leonard takes a conclusion as Teddy drives away in the final moments of Memento. As the narrator, he wonders if he can forget all he was created to do. He considers that perhaps he needs another riddle to solve, another John G. to seek. He’s aware of it. He’s furious with Teddy for exploiting him; then, in that instant, he decides that if he’s going to be controlled, it’ll be by his hand, not anybody else’s. He takes out his notepad and records down Teddy’s car plate number, wondering whether he may be his John G.
He wonders if he should deceive himself like Teddy to be happy. All who try to utilize him for their gain will also pay the price. Remember that Leonard’s righteous rage never fades. Because he does not feel the passing of time, the recollection of his wife’s death, even though it never happened, is constantly fresh in his mind. He is aware that any vengeance he exacts may be empty but unconcerned. He realizes this the instant he chooses to blame Teddy for his wife’s death. He’s OK as long as he believes he’s succeeded, even though the memories of his win will fade away.
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