Definitely a 90s film..
Really interesting concept, exploring the life of a man with short term memory loss who is questing after the man who raped and killed his wife. The form of the film is specifically designed to give you a similar feeling of anonymity and disorientation to Lenny, the protagonist. You are investigating and connecting facts just as he is, but they’re not the same facts. You realise that you are investigating Lenny, not the murder of his wife, just as one of the characters suggests that he should.
There are some wicked concepts and phrases brought up, but the plot overall is about a 5 or 6/10. It’s consistent, it’s clever, brings up questions about people’s willingness to remember, to manipulate, to purposely accept ignorance.
It’s well shot, well timed, but there’s no punch, no real climatic conclusion or plot twist or anything, partly because there is no climatic confrontation, and what can be counted as one actually happens at the beginning. Instead, it’s more of a thought experiment, one that will definitely get those cogs whirring.
“We all need mirrors to remind us who we are”
Identity in a world of missing information is challenged, but so also is the way we choose to present ourselves, how we feel it is right to present ourselves to others. Not just in terms of manipulating others but also how to appear normal through your (re)actions alone.
“The world doesn’t just disappear when you close your eyes”
Or does it? Reality is questioned, facts wrestle with interpretation and motive. The actions of the world continue around you but if they are not directly affecting you at that present moment, do they matter?
“How am I supposed to heal if I can’t feel time?”
This is a concept I’m hoping to move onto with my own research quite soon, particularly how trauma causes subsequent events to be rearranged around the traumatic event instead of linearly (or in relation to the present moment). It almost seems as though the majority of your self, or at least the time-related part of it, is stuck at the trauma. Memento explores this by having Lenny trapped in the quest for vengeance, unable to forget his wife as she, and their trauma, is his freshest memory. Tulving’s Chronesthesia is an interesting psychological article that relates to this.