Meaning of the movie Memento

The film Memento was created by Christopher Nolan in 2000 from a story by his own brother, but the picture is not considered an adaptation, but an original work due to the fact that the story was published later than the film appeared on the screens. No need to prove once again that Nolan is a true master of thrillers, and Memento is one of the clearest examples of this.

The composition of the film is quite complex and multi-stage, so restoring the plot (the chronological sequence of the action) is not so easy. The film begins from the end, that is, at first we see the consequences of all the actions of the protagonist, and only then gradually, step by step, we approach the causes, the sources of what is happening. 5-minute segments of the protagonist’s life, going in reverse time order, are replaced by pictures of a past life. Leonard Shelby wakes up in a motel and does not remember anything, does not remember yesterday, and indeed the last few months, only his wife remained in his memories, who was killed, and before that was raped, by robbers who broke into the house of Leonardo and his wife. The hero finds hint tattoos on his body, which inform the sequence of actions, following these instructions, Leonardo finds pictures taken with a Polaroid. Gradually, he realizes that he is investigating the death of his wife. He remembers that he managed to kill one robber, but the second attacked him from behind. A blow to the head for the main character turned out to be fatal, now his short-term memory refuses to work. He has to repeat the sequence of events over and over every morning to keep moving forward with the investigation.

In the meantime, we are witnessing the second storyline, the story that happened to Leonardo before the tragic incident, at his work. He works as an insurance agent, he has a new client – Samuel Jankis. Sammy was in a car accident and has short term memory problems. If Leonardo proves that the disease developed due to physical injuries, then Sammy will receive compensation from the insurance company, but if it turns out that this is a consequence of psychological abnormalities, then the company will not pay anything to its client. Leonardo investigates this case very carefully, but Sammy fails several psychological tests, which means that he cannot hope for compensation. Jenkis’ wife does not believe that this happened and wants to prove that these are not psychological abnormalities, and in fact, her husband can create new memories: she moves the clock hands several times in a row to the time when her husband should give her insulin injections, in the end, these actions lead to the death of the girl, because Sammy does not remember that he had already given injections to his wife.

It is no coincidence that the stories of these two families have something in common, in both cases the wife dies, and the husband cannot even answer when and why exactly this happened, since both received traumas, as a result of which they can no longer create memories – Sammy and Leonard remember their lives only before the tragic events, after that every day becomes like the first after the incident.

Meaning of the movie Memento

The main mystery of the film is who killed Leonardo’s wife. Even the author of the picture himself does not answer this question directly in his comments – he says that in this film there is no answer to the riddle, the killer is the one you thought of as a result of watching. But it is worth paying attention to some details that can become a clue.

First, of course, this is the same problem of the protagonist and his client – did it not happen that Leonardo simply could not come to terms with his memories, and therefore his brain created a new figure, another person who mistakenly killed his wife himself?

Secondly, the character of policeman Teddy is interesting, who calls Leonardo every day and “helps” conduct an investigation. But remember the moment when, on a tip from Teddy, Leonardo kills a man who definitely was not the killer of the hero’s wife. It is also important that Leonardo is looking for a man named John G., in his opinion, the killer of his wife was called that, according to Teddy’s passport, the name is also John G.

It is worth recalling the conversation between Teddy and Lenardo, in which the policeman, in a fit of emotion, admits that there are a lot of John G. around the world, and many of them are bad guys. Does this mean that the cop is just using Leonardo’s hands to punish the bad guys?

Thus, it is possible to build a theory that, in fact, Leonardo saved his wife from death at the hands of robbers and for some time they lived together happily, but then by mistake, due to problems with his head, Leonardo kills his wife, most likely, it is just like Sammy allegedly did – an overdose of insulin. After that, the brain refuses to reflect the truthful reality, and Leonardo goes chasing the ghost, and Teddy simply uses his services to clean up the world from bad people.

The film ends with a scene when Leonardo stops for the first time in front of a tattoo parlor, and there is only one thought in his head: “What was all that?” In the photo with his wife, which the hero always carries with him, he still does not have tattoos, maybe this scene is the first memory after the death of his wife?

Write in the comments your meaning of the movie Memento. We look forward to waiting!

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