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Final Film Critique Momento Mori - Research Paper Example

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Memento Mori Christopher Nolan’s Memento tells a haunting story of a man without short-term memory, a condition that short-circuits his ability to make new memories and forces him to obsess over his last memory, a brutal assault upon his wife by some unknown assailant…
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Final Film Critique Momento Mori

Download file to see previous pages... This might be a straightforward suspense thriller if not for the inversion of the usual chronology of a narrative. Rather than begin with the traumatic event, or early in the story with a few flashbacks to the traumatic event, the movie begins instead at its chronological ending, with Leonard enacting his revenge with the polarizing aid of a Polaroid camera. The story then proceeds in reverse, through a series of events in which each successive event precedes chronologically the event it follows. In effect, the movie mirrors the memory disorder that afflicts its main character. Leonard maintains a pretense of continuity through a series of tattoos that define his identity and his purpose and photographs that provide basic information about the people and objects with which he must interact. Equipped with these two modes of visual inscription, Shelby uses “habit and routine” to make his “life possible.” This essay will offer a detailed criticism of the film focusing on three themes: the double constitution of the film's protagonist, the fate of Teddy as decided by the objects around him, and the unique position the audience is placed in if and when they become aware of the climactic “error” of the film. ...
But if his mind suffers from his strange amnesia, his body remains as a canvass on which to archive those questions of identity that haunt the agency lost along with his memory. Some tattoos provide routines by which to self-identify his disorder (“remember Sally Jankis”) while others provide information (the series of “Facts”) about the mysterious John G. responsible for his wife’s death. This cognitive road-map is in many was not nearly as striking and fetishized as it seems to be when it first appears on screen; in reality, it represents merely a more dramatic version of the same externalized memory technologies we have depended upon since the origin of writing. We use these external and technological memory systems to help make sense of the world around us, given that there is so much of the world we do not understand and far too much of the world for us to ever easily remember. In a book titled Impossible Exchange, Jean Baudrillard argues that humanity, unable to deal with the radical uncertainty of the world, attempts instead to liquidate it, “to destroy it by substituting an artificial one, built from scratch, a world for which we do not have to account to anyone” (2001, p. 14). Given the doubts we have about the world, we prefer to find solace in the “simulacra and simulations” of places like Disney or religion or particular versions of history (Baudrillard, 1994), rather than face the reality that we do not know any of these things for sure. This is exactly what takes place in Memento with Shelby's tattoo work. Thus, Shelby’s attempt to use his skin as a place to store his memory is not as remarkable for its strangeness as it is for its banality: in a culture defined by the seasonal rotation of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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