Memento Study Guide

Memento is a psychological thriller directed by Christopher Nolan, written by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, and produced by Suzanne and Jennifer Todd. It was released on September 5, 2000.

Leonard Shelby, the protagonist, is in search of the person who raped and killed his wife. The problem is that he suffers from short-term memory loss, so cannot accumulate any new information in the present. He uses tattoos and Polaroids to keep track of information, and must be always on the lookout for people trying to manipulate him. The film is unique in that it has two parts, one shot in color and one shot in black-and-white, which are intercut with each other and which move in opposite directions in time. The color sections move in reverse chronological order, while the black-and-white sections move forward in time.

Memento received glowing reviews at the time of its release. John Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal wrote, "I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time". Anthony Lane from The New Yorker wrote, "The young British writer and director Christopher Nolan, who has every intention of putting us through the mill, doubles his fun by running the whole story backward."