Describe A Movie: Memento by Christopher Nolan - Essay Example

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This essay describes the plot of a movie Memento, the psychological thriller film by the renowned director Christopher Nolan, that unveils the physical and emotional problems faced by an individual who is affected by amnesia. The paper also analyzes the actions of the main hero…
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Describe A Movie: Memento by Christopher Nolan
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Describe a movie Memento, the psychological thriller film by the renowned director Christopher Nolan unveils the physical and emotional problems faced by an individual who is affected by amnesia. The film which is in reverse chronological order is symbolic of the main character (Leonard)’s attempt to create a system of extended memory and to take revenge of his wife’s murder. Besides, the film’s theme revolves around the main character’s tiresome effort to concentrate on his ultimate aim. Thesis statement: The evaluation of the film Memento proves that Leonard or the main character is not responsible for his actions because the same were not performed of the character’s own free will. Plot summary As pointed out, Leonard is affected by amnesia due to violent attack (blow on his head) by a group of criminals. In the film, Leonard is narrating his life story to Sammy, his client. Besides, Leonard’s ultimate aim is to entrap John G, who is responsible for his wife’s murder. So, he makes use of memoirs (snaps and written notes) to retain his memory. At the same time, Leonard suspects that Sammy is John G. Later, he was able to find out Jimmy Grantz, another individual suspected by him as the murderer. Later, Teddy (a contact/ undercover officer) reveals that John G is a fictitious character created by Leonard. Still, the ambiguous nature of the film’s plot is not helpful for the viewers to identify the real identity of Leonard’s wife’s murderer. Is Leonard responsible for his actions or not As pointed out, the innovative narrative technique, i.e., reverse chronological order of shots, made use by the director proves that the film represents the problem (say, amnesia) faced by Leonard. The individual who is suffering from amnesia cannot make use of his or her long-term memory system to accumulate new memories. Within this context, Leonardo is the victim of amnesia and he is trying his level best to focus on his ultimate aim. He is aware of the fact that nothing can compensate the misfortune in his life (the untimely death of his wife). Still, he considers that he must find out the person who is responsible for the hardships faced by him. The most difficult problem faced by Leonard is that he is the victim of betrayal. For instance, Leonard is not able to expose the real identity of John G because his ‘system’ is not helpful to retain long-term memory. Besides, Leonard suspects that Teddy is John G. This misunderstanding proves that his extended memory or the system is entirely different from his biological memory. This continuous betrayal by Leonard’s extended memory proves that he is a victim, not a criminal. Moreover, Leonard is aware of the fact that the grass root level reason behind the problem faced by him is interconnected with the criminal act conducted by John G and his group. At the same time, Leonard depends upon his ‘system’ and blindly believes that it is superior to his biological memory. On the other side, the crimes committed by Leonard prove that his system is not perfect because his wife’s murderer is dead. Still, Leonard is trying to entrap an imaginary murderer. So, Leonardo is not responsible for his deeds because the same were not performed of his own free will. Philip C. DiMare opined that “Because Leonard has no lasting memories since his injury, we quickly learn how easily he is manipulated by others” (346). From a different angle of view, massive physical trauma affected Leonard’s mental equilibrium and memory. He is no more a normal individual because he cannot think rationally. Within this context, his one and only aim is to find out the person who is behind the misfortunes in his life. So, he decided to depend upon the so called ‘system’ or memoir. He blindly followed the ‘system’ and became a victim to the same. Here, one cannot prove that Leonardo is responsible for his deeds because he is under the control of the ‘system’. Besides, Leonard considers that memoirs are symbolic of his extended memory. So, the helplessness faced by Leonard as an amnesia patient and his blind dependence upon the ‘system’ proves that he is not responsible for his acts. Summing, Leonard in the film Memento is symbolic of individuals entrapped and betrayed by ‘systems’. When an individual blindly believes in one’s extended memory, there is high scope for the manipulation of an individual’s deeds by the system or by other individuals. Within this context, Leonard is helpless and not responsible for his actions because he fully depends upon the system, not upon his biological memory. When the ‘system’ asks him to commit crime, he does not try to resist. Instead, he gets involved in more and more crimes and ruins his life. His behavior is irrational but explanation on the same does not make his deeds rational. In short, Christopher Nolan makes use of the main character to unearth the problems faced by amnesia patients. Works Cited DiMare, Philip C. Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia. California: ABC-CLIO, 2011. Print. Read More
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