I watched Memento a couple of nights ago.  It was the most confusing, disorienting movie I have ever watched, but brilliant in making one vicariously experience what the actor (Guy Pearce) is experiencing.  For those who haven’t seen it, it is about a guy who has no short-term memory… he can remember what happened to him before his head injury, but since that point, he can only remember events from the previous 5-10 minutes.  He can only manage life by taking polaroid shots and writing himself notes as a substitute memory.  To make us experience this feeling, the movie is shot in reverse, that is, it starts with the last event to happen and works backwards in time in 5-minute vignettes… so the viewer also doesn’t know what happened before the scene currently being shown (i.e. has no memory).  To make it more confusing, it intersperses another sequence in black-and-white, which moves forward in time from the beginning… you reach the end of the movie as the forward moving sequence finally merges with the backward moving sequence so that the movie ends right in the middle (chronologically).  They also close-cropped the shots and reduced other tell-tale locational cues (for instance, there are at least three different motels, but they all look alike).  By the end of the movie, I understood the general plot, but the order of the sequences (which is important) was all confused.  So I decided to watch it again now that I understood the plot (I’ve never done that before with a movie).  But by the 4th sequence, I was again confused about what things had or had not happened by that point, so I ran the video to the end and started watching the colored sequence in reverse order (in other words, in the right order chronologically).  It was well acted with a very creative plot and approach, but I guess it was the figuring it all out that really hooked me.


Posted March 5, 2006 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

4 responses to “

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  1. That movie kind of tripped me out.

  2. I enjoyed it a lot. In fact, I don’t really buy a lot of movies but I bought the special edition of this one because it has a menu function that allows you to choose to watch the scenes in “forward” order. Also the packaging contains (fake) newspaper articles and (fake) police files that give you insight into the events. Kudos to you Kent because I know you are usually “one and done” when it comes to films.

  3. It’s true that I don’t watch many movies twice, but what was especially unique about this is that I watched it a second time immediately after watching it the first time (after spending 30 minutes trying to sort out the sequences in my head).  I know what Ben means… I kept saying to myself all through the movie, “this is weird!” 
    I watched the “Blair Witch Project” last night and all through the movie I was thinking “this is dumb!” (I fast-forwarded through most of it).  I guess it might be scary to a city-slicker.

  4. For another movie that keeps you guessing and rewinding until the end try Matchstick Men.

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