Memento Movie Explained: The Lies We Tell Ourselves to Live - VRGyani News and Media

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Memento Movie Explained: The Lies We Tell Ourselves to Live

One of my cinema pet peeves is when people refer to the structure of Christopher Nolan's Memento as "a gimmick." A gimmick is a hook that serves no point. It gets your attention, but by its very nature has no payoff. If Nolan dressed Guy Pearce in a chicken costume for the entirety of the movie and never explained it, that would be a gimmick. The reverse-chronology of Memento is essential to its power because it's the only way to put the audience in the mindset of its brain-damaged detective, Leonard Shelby (Pearce, not wearing a chicken costume). "It's all backwards," Burt (Mark Boone Junior) says in one of the film's more meta moments, but the reverse chronology does pull you into Leonard's world, one where we see effect without cause, and can only see the power of causation as we move further back in time. This unique structure gives Memento a hook and its power as Nolan is able to brilliantly intersect time, identity, and memory into his finest feature.



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