I was with some friends on a Friday night, and we were bored. Naturally we decided to hit up the local Redbox. Scanning through the new releases didn’t bring any results, so after about half an hour we decided to take a risk and rented Memento, a delightful film directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight).
I say renting Memento was a risk only because none of us had heard anything about it, but the film is actually quite good. It brings into question such "certainties" as truth and reality. After watching the film you’ll be questioning what’s real in your own life.
Memento’s main character, Leonard, played by Guy Pearce, is a man who lives with short-term memory loss. The last thing he remembers is his wife getting raped and murdered. Leonard goes through life unable to make new memories, so he constantly dwells on his wife and her killer, determined to get revenge.
Leonard has come up with several ways of dealing with his condition. He lives by habit. Leonard uses Polaroid pictures to serve as a memory for him. Everyone he knows he takes a picture of and writes important things about them on the picture, such as their name and phone number. If something is really important he will write it on his body. Leonard is covered in tattoos that he has given himself to help him track down his wife’s killer.
The story is told backwards, completely in reverse with the events that happen chronologically last happening first on screen, and vice versa. Nolan does this to give the viewer a better sense of what it’s like to be Leonard. In every instance the audience has no idea what happened just prior to what is being shown on the screen. All we know is what Leonard can figure out, mostly by reading his own tattoos.