37 minutes ago
A Review of Chris Nolan's "MEMENTO"(2000)
From the onset, the movie lays bare it's structure. With a brilliant idea. A Polaroid photograph fades black instead of developing. It is Christopher Nolan's very first major feature-film, but this is the trippiest and most playful he's ever been with his screenplay.
Leonard, in an understated performance by Guy Pearce, suffers from Retrograde Amnesia. He is unable to form new memories. Heck, he forgets what happens even 20 minutes ago. The last memory he has is of his wife getting murdered. And thus he is out for revenge, constantly reminding himself about all the clues and suspects as well as the identities of the same people he keeps meeting again and again, in the form of notes, scribbles and tattoos all over his body. If the plot sounds overly familiar, it is because the Bollywood film Ghajni (2008) was a remake of the same, to a lesser degree of success.
What follows is a confusing, non-linear story that goes backwards and forwards in time. The timeline can be sorted into two here; the coloured scenes happen after Leonard starts losing his memories and they go backward in sequence, while the black and white segments take place before the event and go forward in time. It's a fascinating structure. One unconventionally funny-yet-thrilling chase sequence takes place in the middle of the film, as Leonard is running after a man. Amidst this, Leonard loses his latest memories. "Okay, what's happening?" His inner monologue states. "I'm chasing this guy...no he's chasing me." The film's detractors mention that the non-linear structure of the script is just a gimmick, to make an average film look like something beyond that. I'd argue that the non-linear narrative is an inherent part of the film, as it puts us right in the head of Leonard. We have no idea what is going on, just as he does. And just as he puts together the jigsaw pieces of his memories together, we do along with him to end up at the climax of the film - which is where the coloured and black-and-white scenes merge.
'Memento' might be Chris Nolan's best screenplay and one of his best films. It is also one of his most underrated. at United States