Films, Film Argument: Mementoby Christopher Nolan (2000)
Memento, a 90 minute film by Christopher Nolan, was released in 2000. The film is a theatrical attempt at addressing misdirected revenge in a modern society. Leonard Shelby, the main character, is a retired insurance investigator who suffers from anterograde amnesia resultant from a head trauma received while defending his wife from two men who had tried to rape her. His life is characterized by a 15 minute loop in which his life resets and his memories are lost. The loop becomes even shorter when he is under stress(Schmidt 9; Read and Goodenough 72-74).
Leonard learns that one of the two men involved in the rape and murder of his wife may have escaped with the police unaware of his whereabouts.
He makes it his mission to track the escaped man despite hisanterograde amnesic condition. What is most ironic about the whole scenario is that while Leonard is determined to find the escaped man and ensure that he answers for the death of his wife, Leonard had already killed the man and may himself have been responsible for his wife's death. The whole movie follows a disjointed narrative format that is paralleled to Leonard's amnesia life. The movie's genre appeal, and application of noir style and revenge theme make it good (Bragues 62-63; Little 67).
[...] Memento has a revenge theme. Most of the characters in the film are on a revenge mission over some perceived wrong done to them. The conventional methods of seeking justice have failed them and they have taken it upon themselves to get justice, irrespective of the personal cost. Leonard, the lead character, justified his revenge mission by presenting it as justice. He overcomes the amnesia by leaving notes everywhere, even tattoos instructions on his body, to inform him of what he may have forgotten (Schmidt 12-13). [...]
[...] New York: Palgrave Macmillan Print. Schmidt, Torben. Christopher Nolan's Memento Analysis of the Narrative Structure of Noirish Revenge Film. Brechen: Johann Wolfgang Goethe- University Print. [...]
[...] The reverse narrative structure with the deductions revealed in the first scenes, and the swing betweenpolychromatic and monochromatic scenes, are intended to confuse the audience and solicit their empathy for Leonard's amnesic condition –unlike him the audience is more informed and knowledgeable as the film progresses towards its conclusion. Based on the arguments presented, the film qualifies as good because of its reference to the current cultural aspects and use of a unique style that makes it both interesting and memorable. Presentationas a revenge theme references current cultural practices. It is human nature to seek justice and when that fails they will use all means at their disposal to ensure accountability. [...]
[...] He was the one who killed his wife, though accidentally, so will he hold himself accountable and submit to justice. The film's use of a disjointed narrative that parallels the main characters post-amnesic life ensures that the audience is well informed of the movie's scene progression and understand the characters motivations. Works Cited Bragues, George. “Memory and Morals in Memento: Hume at the Movies.” Film- Philosophy 12.2 (2008): 62-82. Little, William. “Surviving Memento.”Narrative 13.1 (2005): 67-83. Read, Rupert and Jerry Goodenough. Film as Philosophy. [...]
[...] Discussion Memento is a noir genre film. The noir genre of films was first defined in the late 1940s by French film critic, Frank Nino, who described them as adopting a cynical, gloomy and subversive attitude that deviated from the more common gay and celebratory film attitudes of the time. Noir films have no distinctive elements that are unique to them but adaptelements from other more established themes though the borrowed elements present a generally gloom and doom setting. The primary elements and moods presented by a noir style film are paranoia, guilt, evil, moral degradation, ambiguity, pessimism, disenchantment, disillusionment, bleakness, alienation and melancholy (Schmidt 9-10). [...]
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