Film Seizure #215 – Memento March 16, 2022 filmseizure Episodes One comment This week, the guys try to retrace their steps in this look at Christopher Nolan’s slick 2000 mystery thriller Memento! Like what we do? Buy us a coffee! Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrMastodonLike this:Like Loading... Related
The Forwards Cut is not a thriller in the same sense, if at all. It’s more like … a 2000’s french suspense adjacent character study, where we meet an interesting person who gets himself into a tough spot. Have I told you this already? It starts with all of the black and white, which plays well together because it’s already so cinematic. It’s also a little jumpy, which helps convey his condition ahead of the main story, which now won’t do that for us. Then we see him set himself up to ice Joey Pants, and watch it play out.
Carrie Anne Moss really stands out in this version, honestly. But Leonard is just as interesting to watch from others’ perspectives, which is kind of how this plays, as he was to follow from inside his own head. The DVD version was just a rearranged set of chapters, so each segment had a bit of black space, and the overlaps were indeed present, so you see Leonard drive up in his truck, flash of black, you see Leonard drive up in his truck again, and I wish those weren’t there, because seeing him fight off Dodd, then rest on the bathroom floor, and then to realize that at some point we didn’t catch, he has reset, rather than to experience that reset, is pretty fascinating. If the blu-ray has this version, and cut it together more seamlessly, that’ll be a pretty good thing to watch in its own right.
I appreciate the picture’s muddying of the all-or-nothing approach to his condition, i.e. is it an incurable affliction or not. It’s conveyed that it’s not physical, which speaks against permanence, yet he evidences permanence. I read it as his participating in maintaining the wall. The subconscious part of him that erected it is too terrified of what’s behind it, that he killed his wife with insulin, and he acts on that subconscious impulse by fortifying it with kill quests and evidence.
I have a blocked memory, from a psychological event that occurred when I was four. It was hallucinatory, and what I know of it is that I was convinced I was going to be killed in front of my parents while they stood over me, worried, but just watching. I guess I spent two hours screaming and trying to dig my way into our couch to get away from whatever it was they couldn’t see. I think I’ve seen glimpses, but for years that was just gone. What I remember as clearly as any memory I have that’s more than a week old is waking up the next day. My mother was sitting next to my bed, where she’d been all night, probably awake, and she immediately asked, trepidatiously, “How are you feeling?”
And I answered like I was the happiest, most well-adjusted kid on planet Earth, “I’m great!”
A curious pause, Mom asks, “Really?”
“Yeah!” Then I nod, to confirm it.
“Do you… what do you remember about yesterday?”
“Yesterday… Hey! I finally got the Chicken Pox!” Big grin. It had been going around at kindergarten, and I had either felt left out, or wanted to get it over with, probably the latter. “You came and got me, we went to the doctor, we got home at about 3:30, I put on my tee-shirt and underwear and we went downstairs . . . ”
Tough moment. I couldn’t see past walking down the stairs, likely to watch cartoons and TV all evening, being sick and free of other requirements. I knew what I would have done, so why couldn’t I get from that to remembering doing it? “What happened after 3:30? I don’t even remember going to sleep.”
She wisely chose not to fill in the gaps or tug further with questions which might lead me to do so myself. She might’ve even told me I just fell asleep so quickly, I don’t know.
But that feeling, that totally fine, 100% excited about life, feeling, that was part of my wall, one painted on the outward facing side with a mural of sunshine, butterflies and daffodils, and psychologically guarded by Snow White’s happy and obliging animated animal helpers. “There’s nothing to see here!”
I’m sure the sentries at these walls have different forms for different people, mine a matte painting of complete, sanguine happiness, Leonard’s one more of suspicions and self-deceptions. I know that I’ve had moments where it started to break through, and without knowing the mechanism, I felt like I could have wedged that door open, but chose not to. Those moments felt like what Robin Williams looks like in The Fisher King when he sees the Red Knight. I didn’t succumb physically, but everything inside was doing what he does – freezing and shutting down. I never got the impression Stephen King had ever felt that opportunity in his life. He always refers to it as if it was, and ever will be, simply gone, but his was real; mine wasn’t, even if four-year-old me didn’t know that.
That informs my sense that what he has is a real condition which he might eventually, naturally be able to overcome. Those walls can crack at times, but he chooses what I had in the past (it’s been quite a while, so maybe those missed opportunities cauterize the cracks) – to not pick at them and pull the wall down.
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