HOLLYWOOD—There are some movies that when you first see them you’re so lost its hard to describe them. That is the notion that I get when I see most films by director Christopher Nolan, but it’s something about the director’s work that makes me think he is a genius. He knows how to play with your mind.
I remember when I was first introduced to Nolan in my introductory film class. It was one of those films that just literally left me baffled. I didn’t fully understand it, yet, I still had a major amount of respect for the director who decided to take a leap of faith on a movie that many people wouldn’t understand on first glimpse. On a genre front, this is no easy movie to categorize, but in my personal opinion it’s an intense psychological thriller.
The style that Nolan takes in crafting this movie is complicated to say the least on first glance. It stars Guy Pearce as a man whose ability to maintain new memories has been completely lost. Yeah, it’s a form of anterograde amnesia. So every time he learns something, he has to re-learn it; it vanishes within a matter of hours.
To try to keep a log of solving the mystery behind what happened he writes things all over his body. I thought this concept was great because I had just literally learned all about this phenomenon in my psychology class and that it would be crazy for someone not to be able to store new memories. It would be like living a new life each day and having no clue where to start, hence the story of our protagonist.
When watching “Memento” this is not a movie where you’ll know it all on the first viewing; this is that movie that requires a second, third and in some cases a fourth viewing to fully understand all the details. It’s a tricky concept, because the movie is presented to the audience in black-and-white and in color.
The black-and-white scenes are in chronological order, while the color scenes are not. Yeah, try keeping your mind glued to the formatting of just the color scenes, while being intercepted with the black-and-white scenes. Yes, your mind will be going crazy for quite some time.
The great thing about the movie is the narrative. While the acting from Guy Pearce is amazing, this is a film that solely relies on crafting a narrative unlike anything ever seen on the big screen. Till this day I have yet to see a movie tap into such a complex storytelling motif. Well, some could argue that Nolan’s 2010 mind-bender “Inception” was quite the revelation as he tackled the idea of the various stages of sleep.
This was a film that as a spectator you are doing everything in your power to try to piece the outcome together, and even the brightest person will be surprised with the outcome. I mean really how many times have you see a movie with an epic twist, I mean one that you truly never saw coming. Rarely does that happen, I mean flicks like “The Sixth Sense,” “Memento” and “The Empire Strikes” back only come along every so often. The funny thing about “Memento” is all the clues are there, they are just jumbled like a puzzle, as a viewer its up to you to sort through those clues to find the right answer.
I prefer not to go into too much detail about the plot, cause I would hate to spoil the fun you’ll have watching this film. While this is not a movie that is as open to suturing the spectator right away, patience is virtue. I promise you will never see a movie like “Memento.” It’s a classic that rarely gets the accolades it so deserves.