Thursday, 18 May 2017

Memento (2000)


As far as cinematic experiences of the mind go, nobody has influenced and hypnotized us in recent times like director Christopher Nolan. Though often leaning towards the incomprehensible, incoherent and logic-defying, Inception (2010) and Interstellar (2014) were unforgettable big screen experiences.

But for me, Memento is Nolan's finest, grounded and most convincing 'mind-awe' film. Based on a short story by Christopher's brother and frequent collaborator Jonathan Nolan, Memento is a jigsaw puzzle that comes together with alarming clarity.

The reverse-chronological narrative cuts across two timelines. Both story nerves feature at its center, Leonard, an insurance investigator who suffers from anterograde amnesia (short-term memory loss). Leonard's condition, as he puts it, is a consequence of two men attacking, raping and killing his wife, while severely injuring Leonard. The first attacker was caught, Leonard is in search of the second fugitive attacker, believed to be called John G.

As habitual viewers of linear storytelling, Memento may get you disconcerted and impatient at first. There's a good chance you will pause and opt for another movie. 

Don't. 

Hang on and watch carefully. 

A rich reward for cinema lovers, as the threads untangle the horror and puppetry of it all.

As a constant vindication of Christopher Nolan's early, unmistakable genius, Memento is his finest psychological/mystery thriller film yet.

(Yes, Indian film viewers will identify the similarities to A.R.Murugadoss directed revenge films, the Tamil version, Gajini (2005) and the Hindi remake Ghajini (2008). Both films just used Leonard's memory loss premise, rest was a rehashed formulaic revenge saga, at best.)