Memento Film Essay Example

Published: 2022-04-05
Memento Film Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Movie
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 860 words
8 min read

Thematic Statements

The film Memento explores several themes in modern society. One of the main themes conveyed in this movie is manipulation. The director of the movie, Nolan, uses the storyline to demonstrate that humans have a natural tendency to take advantage of others, and those who are most vulnerable become the greatest victims of manipulation. The author also points out that the said manipulation is not only regarding humans because things like evidence and facts can also be manipulated.

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The second themes that the author develops and presents through this movie are the complexity of identity. It demonstrates how internal and external changes conflict people's self-identities. We see this in the characters' experiences, especially Teddy who has a hazy identity and Leonard who is out of touch with who he is because of his memory problems.

Thirdly, the entire plot of the theme revolves around memory and truth. It shows how lack of memory causes problems in relating events to contexts and how memories that people have of themselves determine their self-perception. Nolan uses Leonard's lack of memory to hide the truth about his identity and wrong deeds from other characters.

Evidence of Manipulation

In the course of their interactions, all the characters in the movie enjoy manipulating each other as if it were some game. There is evidence of manipulation in the actions of Teddy towards Leonard. Although he is a secreted service cop, he hides his identity from Leonard. He poses to the latter as a concerned associate for a whole year and even colludes with him in killing, just to gather evidence against him. Moreover, knowing that Leonard relied on the memory of his wife Natalie, Teddy advises him not to trust her, so that he could manipulate him more easily.

Similarly, Leonard hides his real identity from Teddy. Although his real name is Sammy, he wants to validate the lie he has created about the death of his wife, so he presents himself as Leonard. He also makes Teddy believe that the attackers killed his wife, and gest helps him to kill a person he falsely linked to the murder. Eventually, he kills Teddy too, for lack of trust.

Elsewhere, Natalie uses manipulation to make Leonard do the things she wishes him to do. When her husband beats her, she takes advantage of his amnesia to lie and get some money out of him. She claims that she had gone to Dodd to seek help for Leonard following their loss in the attacks, but he warned her that he needed his money the following day. To move him emotionally, she even tells Leonard that Dodd beat her. Eventually, Leonard, portrayed as Sammy, is tricked and his wife has her way.

Evidently, most of the manipulations targeted Leonard because the condition of his memory made him easy to toss forth and back. In the entire plot of the movie, Leonard is manipulated by his wife, Natalie, and Teddy several times for different reasons. However, he also manipulated each of these characters in different ways.

Locating Source Text

Murdering of Teddy at the beginning of the movie is the translation of a passage found at the tail end of the book. In the literature, Leonard lost his memory when attackers who also raped his wife assaulted him. He then overdosed her on insulin, causing her death but out of guilt, accuses the attackers of murder. Teddy, the secret police officer, helps Leonard to pursue and kill the main culprit but he soon forgets and goes on to kill the second man. Teddy makes him realize that he had mistakenly killed the second person, and that is what leads to the opening scene of the movie. Leonard kills Teddy. Apart from switching the location of the scene from the closing of the story to the opening, the movie also twists some facts around this scene. For instance, the text explains that Leonard was responsible for the death of his wife, and not the attackers, but the movie does not include this deal. It portrays as the reality, the story that Leonard made up about his wife's death. Therefore, the movie presents it as if his wife was indeed murdered. It, however, relates the real events through Leonard's testimony in an investigation.

Aspects to Discuss

There are a few aspects of the book that would be interesting to discuss in class. First, I would like us to analyze the traits of Leonard, Natalie, and Teddy and determine the most manipulative character among them. Secondly, I would love us to examine every instance of manipulation and interpret its morality regarding the context in which it is used. Thirdly, I would like us to discuss whether Leonard truly had no idea that he was Sammy Jankis or he did. It is possible that he deliberately did so to cover up his past misdeeds. It is also possible that it happened due to his amnesia problem. In connection to this, I think it would be important to consider whether Leonard's memory problem was real or fake. That he was able to identify his attackers suggests that he was able to remember things.

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