Welcome to Mind Control Month |Mental Health Week – Day 1. This week, we’ll be talking a lot about the matters of mental health and how these things can control your mind and end up making you do things you wouldn’t normally want to do. First up, we’re focusing in on one of Christopher Nolan’s earlier films, Memento. First off, I just want to say that yes, I have seen this movie before. It confused me enough to think while it may be good, I was too confused to truly follow the plot. That being said, a second-time viewing is all it really takes to fully comprehend the plot at hand. Let’s go ahead and talk about the plot.
Memento chronicles two separate stories of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories, as he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. One story line moves forward in time while the other tells the story backwards revealing more each time. (IMDb)
I’ll tell you why I disagreed with the plot…it went in reverse. I couldn’t fully apprehend or appreciate the complexities as to why it did that. The character wasn’t living in reverse, so I didn’t understand why I had to see it as such. I found it to originally be artsy fartsy in a way that wasn’t fully necessary. Now, I understand that it was made that way in an effort to put the audience in the mind of the character. Every segment is new and confusing at first until we build enough clues to connect a few loose dots – just like him – and while it does begin with what seems to be a climax, it actually ends on a bigger one because it is truly expertly directed. Truthfully, I don’t usually talk about Memento when it comes to Nolan’s work, but I think we probably should because as a director, he couldn’t have possibly done a better job here.
That’s just first impressions, though, right? Let’s go ahead and break down Memento to interpret the stars!
PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2
First up, we have the people category, starting off with the subcategory of acting, and thankfully, the acting was noticeably great. It’s hard to really sell a character that has no short-term memories, but they did it as effectively as possible here. These characters were diverse, unique, and most importantly, memorable. I am convinced that nobody else can play these characters. They are perfect for these roles. Absolutely every character in this film seemingly had an important role adding to the direction of the plot, I was impressed. They had a reason, they had a purpose, they had a history, and I love it. Everyone in this film really worked well together. Their chemistry was off the charts.
WRITING SCORE – 10/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Next up, we have the writing category, starting off with the dialogue, which was actually really well thought out. There’s a lot of memorable lines, and just the way people speak is hard to forget. You get a lot of narration, but for a guy that can’t remember anything – self-notes are important. I would certainly say that the film is also very well-balanced and consistently holds a strong focus on the story at hand, even though one part of the story is going in reverse while another is going forward. When it comes to the story, this film knows what it’s doing. Not only is the story alone interesting, but it sticks with you because it has meaning and purpose. In my opinion, I also think this film feels fresh and pretty original. Was this movie interesting? Of course it was, don’t be silly. I was all-in for this one.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 2|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
Next up, we’re taking a look at behind-the-scenes, starting with the visuals. In this case, the visuals were pretty standard and typical to what you’d expect. Nothing blows you away, nothing looks horrible, either. It is what it is, folks. The director actually did a really good job here, and I’ll explain more with editing. Nothing challenging or difficult in the editor’s desk, folks. They stitched the movie together just fine, but there’s nothing else to report here because even a kid could probably do it. But Dave, how can you possibly say that! This movie is all about the editing! No, it’s not; it’s all about the directing. The director used this method as a form to tell his story, he told the editor that these are the shots that had to be shown in that order. The only thing the editor did was fade out the music to get to the next scene…it wasn’t impressive. As with most films, I consider this film to be exactly as-advertised, which is good. There wasn’t anything fancy or memorable about the music. It was basically as good as it needed to be in order to keep the tone in place…and that’s what they did here, as well.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 7/10
Introduction – 0|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1
Next up, we’re taking a look at the narrative arc category, quite possibly the easiest category to score pretty highly in, which is surprising, given how the introduction really doesn’t exist here. While it does what it needs to do, there is no real clear intro…which is weird…but then again, how else do you say the ending is the introduction? How about the inciting incident? That was perfectly clear and set the rest of the film up for a good ride. That’s basically when you learn he has this condition. How were the obstacles? Totally fine. There were plenty of clear obstacles in the way, just as you’d come to expect. How was the climax? The climax was perfect. It felt like a perfect culmination of everything else put together, just as it should. Alright, so how was the falling action? Well, it started to calm things down a little bit, but other than that, not the best. You never get the sensation that they are returning to a new norm, so it’s not a complete falling action.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 7/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 2|Sucks Audience IN – 2
Okay, so was this movie as entertaining as it wanted to be? Let’s get into that. As far as rewatchability is considered, I don’t know. I might watch it again if I was in the mood, but I don’t see myself looking for the film anytime soon. Is this a film I would consider fun while watching? Oh yeah, absolutely. Whatever technical problems the movie may or may not have, it is definitely fun, and that’s something no one can take away from it. Do I have any impulse to buy it? No way, Jose! What about talking to somebody about the film that hasn’t heard of it? Oh, totally. People need to know this movie exists, even if they only watch it the one time. Does this suck you in, though? Oh, definitely. I never once had a problem getting lured into everything that was happening in this film.
SPECIALTY SCORE – 45/50
Monthly Theme – 10|Weekly Theme – 10|Drama – 5|Mystery – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
We are now onto the five specialty questions that I asked before watching the movie. First and foremost, we have the monthly theme of mind control. Initially, I gave this half-points, but I had to re-evaluate it to give this full points because his condition easily makes him vulnerable to manipulation from anybody – and yes, it does happen. The weekly theme of mental health is definitely covered pretty thoroughly, so I gotta give full points to that. This is listed under drama and mystery, so how are those genres? While I do understand where the drama comes from, I think most audiences would be more busy with trying to figure out the mystery behind everything, so drama gets half points while mystery gets full. Finally, is this film halfway decent? Sure is, absolutely!