Memento mesmerizes

Carrie-Anne Moss and Guy Pearce share a moment.
Carrie-Anne Moss and Guy Pearce share a moment.
Credit: 
Photo courtesy of yahoo movies.com

Memento
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantaliano.
Currently playing at the Capitol 7 Theatres

Memento should come with the following clauses: 1) Must see when alert and sober; 2) Skip late-late-show to avoid drowsiness and; 3) Is best seen by those who keep a Rubik's cube in their glove compartment. If these requirements are met, Memento proves to be an incredibly fascinating film.

The plot is difficult to describe, as it works half-backwards, half-forwards. The plot structure is probably best explained with exaggerated hand-gestures. Once you get a feel for the pattern though, it becomes easier to follow. Essentially, the audience is presented with a murder and then retraces the steps leading up to it—but backwards. Black and white scenes are told from an omniscient perspective to help the audience regain their mental footing.

The protagonist is Leonard Shelby, a former insurance investigator, who has no short-term memory. However, he is able to remember everything up until the rape and murder of his wife, and is determined to track down the killer and get revenge. He does this by tattooing facts about the murderer onto his body and taking polaroids of people and places with explanatory notes underneath.

Problems arise when others try to abuse his condition, knowing he will not be able to remember who they are minutes later, especially if he doesn’t have a pen to record anything. Complications also surface when Leonard writes things down that are more opinion or suspicion than fact.

Innovative storytelling and unique characters provide for original themes. Fresh takes on the reliability of memory, the truthfulness of fact, the existence of instinct, and mutual trust provide for ample post-movie reflection.

Memento’s open-ended conclusion may also provoke further “coffee talk” amongst friends wishing to tie up loose ends or clear up any confusion.

Whether Memento stimulates your noggin, frustrates you to no end, or simply confuses you, it really is one of the few true “must-see”s of the summer.

—Vanessa Farquharson

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