How memorable, really?

Review of Memento (2000)

Review of Memento (2000) movie, by Stefan Stenudd


Memento is a reminder or a warning, as in the classic expression: Memento mori, remember that you will die. It is grim, but also helpful. Shouldn't we live our lives like that? Should we not, like Leonard in the movie, reexamine our whole situation, each morning after waking up?



       When Leonard fights his incapacitated short-memory, to catch the killer of his wife and avenge her, he has found a simple, straightforward meaning to his life, easily filling each new moment of his days - and there are many. Upon completion, what can he possibly do to keep such a sense of purpose? It's pretty much a no-win situation.

       But the movie is fascinating, mainly because of it staying, as Kurt Vonnegut called it in Slaughterhouse 5, "unstuck in time". This opens for a refreshing narration, keeping your eyes open and your mind awake. It is done with great skill, too, so that it almost becomes natural, as if time is supposed to work like this.

       My problem is with the characters. In this staccato form, they do not really get any depth, are not explored to the extent where I feel I know what makes them tick. The characters become like the plot itself: cut up in tiny pieces, and scrambled.

       That would be Ok, too, if it were not for the ending (which I will not give away here). The ending - well, the beginning, sort of - loses credibility by the fact that we have gotten to know too little about the main characters, to anchor it in. Not as bad as a deus ex machina intervention in the last minute, but still. I don't feel the ending to be what Aristotle meant by 'necessary', and I don't know enough about the characters to say what would have been such an ending.

       Unfortunately, this shortcoming makes the film less memorable than it otherwise deserves to be.

Stefan Stenudd
12 January 2003




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Click the header to get to the webpage where I present all my books in English. Click an image below to go to that book's page on Amazon.

Ever Young. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. All's End. Science fiction novel by Stefan Stenudd.
Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes - The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.