Acclaimed film director Christopher Nolan began his career with a number of neo-noir films that leave the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end. The second of these, Memento, released in 2000 and was based on a story suggested by his brother, Jonathan Nolan. The tale follows a man who has lost his wife in an incident that caused him to lose the ability to create new memories, and how he hunts down her killer and gets revenge. However, in a most unusual method of telling the story, the plot progresses backwards.
By using this fragmented narrative, Nolan gets the audience’s immediate attention when he begins with the concluding scene, and continues to maintain this as the story progresses backwards in time, each new revelation leading us closer and closer to the end. Simultaneously, some black and white scenes progress forwards from the chronological beginning. Despite their opposing chronologies, the two story-lines meet in brilliant synchronisation for a mind-blowing climax.
The 3 main characters are portrayed by Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss. All three play their characters well, especially Guy Pearce who plays the protagonist Leonard Shelby. His anterograde amnesia prevents him from making any new memories, and he thus relies on a number of photographs with notes and tattoos on his body which give him his basic information. Using these to keep reminding himself of what he has discovered, and with the help of a few other characters, Nolan takes the audience on Lenny’s journey with him as he discovers the truth.