Editorials,  Movies/Entertainment

Random Film Thought of the Day…12.28.09

You know, I don’t know if I say this enough, but I just love me some Memento…actually, all Christopher Nolan films now that I think about it.  Anyway, as much as I adore the story of ‘Leonard Shelby’ trying to find his wife’s killer and the hope that he will remember it once he’s avenged her, I have one big problem with the film.

Think about this:  A man is hit on the head.  When he wakes up in the hospital, and after the doctors assess him, they deduce that he has brain damage.  While not fully impaired due to his injury, he’ll never be the person he was either.  He, let’s call him ‘Leonard’, has damaged the part of his brain responsible for the creation and recollection of  his short-term memory.  Soooo, if the whole movie is about him trying to avenge his wife, and along the way telling everyone he meets that he has no short-term memory because of the incident…then how the hell is he able to remember “the incident”?

I’ve thought about that for years and I have a few ideas, one of which is really a cop-out (and the rest are mere derivations to make myself feel smart), but it involves progressive or deteriorating damage that happened not right after the accident but sometime just a little later.  Basically long enough for him to come to grips with everything and allow the plot of Memento to hold up.  Other than that I would call this a big plot hole.  But I’ll ask you OTNEMEM fans out there.  Any ideas on how Leonard could remember “the incident” if he has no short-term memory??  Love to hear anything you got…


  • Mad Hatter

    I think the idea is that “The Icident” (why do I suddenly feel like watching LOST?) is the cut off for his long term memory. He remembers the situation itself…walking in the room, seeing his wife’s state…but nothing after.

    Then again, maybe he’s tattooed it somewhere on himself *shrug*

    • Marc

      Yeah, to me, I think it’s better to not let that bit of missing plot exposition fall by the wayside so that I can just enjoy the movie for the amazing film it is…although there are plenty of things that present themselves if you just watch the movie enough times. Took me about 5 viewings to see the Sammy Jankis “switcheroo” where at first it was Sammy in the mental hospital but then with a quick pass of an orderly you see it was actually Leonard in the hospital. Pretty slick film though none-the-less.

  • Mad Hatter

    Kinda cool the first time you catch that ain’t it? (And people wonder why I watch the same movies over and over).

    Do you have the special edition DVD that allows you to watch the story in sequence? What do you think of seeing the story that way?

  • mcarteratthemovies

    I have to wonder how many films have been impacted by “Memento” and the whole fragmented storyline angle.

    • Marc

      Could be a good idea for a MCarter list (wink, wink)

      Although I can’t recall any at the moment. ‘Pulp Fiction’ comes to mind but that was years before Memento. Maybe ‘500 Days of Summer’ perhaps??