I recently watched Memento for the first time, and I highly recommend it. If you’re looking for a film that’s so complex yet so brilliant that you have to read an in-depth analysis of the plot straight after you’ve watched it, Memento is something you have to see.
Memento, in a nutshell, is about Leonard Shelby, a man with short term memory loss trying to find the men who attacked him (hence the memory loss) and raped and murdered his wife. The whole short term memory loss thing kind of gets in the way a bit, so to remember things he results to writing notes, taking polaroid photos, and tattooing the key facts of the murder all over his body. What I loved most about the film was that the scenes weren’t shot in chronological order. There are two sets of scenes; black and white scenes that are shown in order, and colour scenes that are shown in reverse order (although annoyingly I didn’t realise this until after I had watched it). The mixed up scenes mirroring Leonard’s mixed up memory is brilliant; it’s almost like the film is a puzzle that the viewer has to make up for themselves.
The film as a whole is difficult to describe. The main storyline is clear throughout the film but various characters bring new elements and problems into the plot, making the viewer just as confused as the guy with the memory problem. There aren’t many characters- maybe five at the most- and the setting rarely changes from the protagonist’s plain hotel room, however the plot is the vital reason for watching. Usually I’m really bad with confusing, non-linear storylines, and Memento was no exception, but through this film Christopher Nolan really achieved the viewer reaction of pure shock/surprise/bewilderment throughout.