Memento is one of my favorite all time movies. It did what all great art should strive to do; it stirred me. It took me away from my comfort center and showed me a way to re-evaluate my perception. The movie is about a man suffering from short-term memory loss who sets out to solve and avenge his wifeâ(TM)s murder. If you have ever watched The First 48 Hours tv show, you would know that solving a murder is a monumental task to undertake. But to do so when you lose your memory every five to ten minutes is beyond incredible. What struck me was the neat little tricks he came up with to hold his memory together. He tattoos all the clues to the murder in an updating fashion on his body so that all he has to do is look in a mirror and instantly know where heâ(TM)s at on his mission. His use of Polaroid photos taken of important pieces of information really impressed upon me the fragility of memories and how important they are in shaping our current reality. The opening sequence begins with a clear photo image regressing back to its original blank, kind of like how memories fade over time. If you were to one day lose your memory, and then you reached into your pocket and found a photograph; what would that photograph be? How would you remind yourself of who you are and what you need to do? These photos served as a bridge between the outside world and the mindâ(TM)s current reality. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. This is why I like looking at bridges so much. The photograph in hand and the eyes looking upon it form the two ends of a bridge. One side, we have the real world as it exists outside of our perception. On the other side, we have a perception of that reality. To get from one side to the other, a bridge must be crossed, and in doing so, there is an inherent manipulation of the facts. We are not the same person on either side of that bridge. We adopt the identity of the landmass we stand on and it changes imperceptibly as we traverse the connection. Sometimes, it might be good to stop in the middle of that bridge and look out into the water.
Don't tell Oliver Stone there's no sex in violence. He mixes the two up like vodka and tomato juice in a Bloody Mary and forgets to put the lid on the blender. It gets messy as a cartel war should but I don't really feel for any of the characters. Salma Hayek's character is the only one that shows any depth and is interesting to watch her take on a modern day Cleopatra. But the action becomes predictable with a few twists thrown in to keep the interest alive till the end.
I thought this was a solid movie considering what it attempts to undertake. Fifty years ago, Ayn Rand wrote a monstrous 1,200 page novel on political philosophy that academia did not take seriously. That is until all the stuff she predicted started coming true. I'm only getting my feet wet with this flick and, hopefully, it'll pique my interest enough to actually read the book. But it's so huge, I'm gonna wait and see how part two plays out first.