For this year’s A-To-Z Challenge, my theme is MOVIES. I will be working my way through the alphabet during the month of April with movie titles and short blurbs about each movie. Today’s movie is “Memento.”
“Memento” was a 2000 American film noir mystery/thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film’s script was based on a pitch by Nolan’s brother Jonathan, who wrote the 2001 story “Memento Mori” from the concept. Guy Pearce starred, with Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano as co-stars.
The film was acclaimed by critics, who praised its nonlinear structure and motifs of memory perception, grief, and self-deception. It earned $40 million over its $9 million budget and received Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. “Memento” is widely regarded as one of Nolan’s finest works and one of the best films of the 2000s. In 2017, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The protagonist, portrayed by Guy Pearce, is a man who is struggling to put his life back together after the brutal rape and murder of his wife. But having been savagely beaten by the same man who killed his wife, his short-term memory had been destroyed and he was no longer able to retain any new information. Thus, he had to resort to copious note-taking and Polaroid photographs in order to keep track of what happens to him over the course of a day. He even tattooed himself with a few crucial bits of information that he couldn’t get along without. The character is obsessed with taking revenge against the man who has ruined his life, and he sets out to find him, getting help from some questionable characters.
What’s most intriguing about this movie, to me, anyway, is that it progresses backwards in time. The protagonist kills the murderer of his wife in the film’s first scene, and it then moves backward from that point, in roughly five-minute increments, allowing us to see how he tracked the guy down, and then ending with what is, chronologically, the story’s beginning. It sort of blew my mind. I loved it.
If you love dark mysteries and thrillers, do yourself a favor and watch this film.