My interest in Memento came about after reading somewhere that it was released around the same time as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – one of my favourite films that I was inspired to re-watch recently. When I then realised it was the work of Christopher Nolan, I immediately thought of Interstellar, Inception and the Dark Knight Trilogy, which sent it to the stratospheric point of my rental list as a high priority.
Memento is a based on a short story written by Jonothan Nolan, the younger brother of the director. It has that ‘late nineties/early noughties‘ feel in its appearance, as it will be sixteen-years-old in 2016. This film is typically classed as a psychological thriller.
It stars Guy Pearce (who I don’t really know and often misthink for Guy Ritchie…), a man who awakens on a day, in a place, with no recollection of the recent past. This becomes a habit of the film and it’s as a result of the injury his character has suffered. As his character (Leonard) frequently finds himself in a perplexed state without a short-term memory, he has developed a routine or ‘system’ to help him remember in future – one part of this is to keep Polaroid photographs on hand with notes scribbled beneath and behind.
A supporting cast includes Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano. But to Leonard, these people are nameless. He does not recognise their faces. Who’s telling the truth and who can he trust?
What I think is most brilliant about this film is the way it is set out – while we’re following the timeline as Leonard’s life moves forward, suddenly unaware of what may or may not have happened moments ago – we gradually see the clock ticking backwards, learning more about these ‘forgotten’ events, all of which help to fill in the blanks and create an explanation for the film’s opening scene.
I didn’t quite get it on my first watch but, as it all came together in my second attempt, I felt impressed and slightly in awe of the ingenuity.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1)
With all the hype surrounding Part 2 as it joins Spectre in drawing crowds to the cinema, I thought it would be a good time to catch up on the prequel, so that I don’t feel like I’m completely missing out.
I quite liked the first two Hunger Games films. What bothered me mostly about the second was how Katniss was bundled back in to ‘The Games’ and so it felt like they were trying to recreate the first film whilst putting only half as much effort in. Thankfully, she doesn’t return to ‘live or die’ battle in the first Mockingjay film – and, if you’ve seen Catching Fire, you might understand why.
Following the events that closed the end of the previous film, we learn that Katniss has survived the past events and now resides amongst an army of rebels within District 13. Yet she’s unable to let go of the fact that Peeta was left behind in the games… As the story goes on, we learn of his fate and also the attempts to improve his situation.
Since those events at the end of Catching Fire, an uprising amongst the districts has formed. That incident empowered their voice. But we also see the way in which Snow and his Capitol have retaliated. All of which inspires Katniss to take on the responsibility of being the leader in this revolution; the Mockingjay.
It was very much a The Matrix Reloaded-feel for me, as the credits came to roll – I think I said the same about the previous film as well. Something happens towards the end of the film that leaves you asking questions, wanting to know more and to witness the outcome. Feeling more refreshed than the previous film, it was good to see other familiar characters (Haymitch and Effie) in this new environment.
When I get around to watching Part 2, I only hope it doesn’t go as far over-the-top and away as The Matrix Revolutions did… Badly, too.
Thanks for reading.