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*** Official "MEMENTO" Discussion Thread


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#1 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 18 2001 - 12:36 PM

Post Edited by Administrator to reflect "Major Spoilers Alert"

What did everyone think about Memento's ending? Was Leonard really revenge-crazy and trying fool himself into believing John G is still alive? If John G was dead, Leonard would've had no reason to live. He would've had nothing to do, so he tried to trick himself so he could continue searching. Or was Teddy lying about everything he told him at the end? Teddy doesn't look like a cop and he had been lying throughout the movie.

I have some questions:

Who was the cop Leonard was talking to on the phone (I might have missed that part)?

I didn't get the part at the end when Teddy tells him his wife survived the accident and she is the one that's diabetic. If his wife was alive, why would Leonard think she's dead? and why wouldn't Leonard remember she is the diabetic one (since he remembers everything before that accident). It could be that he WANTS to believe that his wife is dead, because his wife didn't accept his condition and she left him. He wants to believe his wife didn't leave him, but that she died instead.

Also, if Leonard couldn't make any new memories after the accident, then how does he REMEMBER about his condition? Every time he wakes up, he seems to know that he has this rare condition and know about his quest to find the killer. Shouldn't he be confused every time he wakes up, thinking he has just woken the day after the accident and oblivious to the fact that he has amnesia? Whenever he wakes up, he seems to know what he is basically doing (trying to find the killer). He knows there are pictures in his pockets, and tattoos on his body to help him. He also knows that his wife died a long time ago. If he couldn't make new memories, everytime he woke up, he would've felt like his wife died just yesterday. What's the deal?

Dave

#2 of 139 OFFLINE   Stephen R

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Posted March 18 2001 - 02:43 PM

David:

I'll try to answer some of your questions, but I think a lot of the film is the viewers own interpretation, which is something I really loved.

Quote:
What did everyone think about Memento's ending? Was Leonard really revenge-crazy and trying fool himself into believing John G is still alive? If John G was dead, Leonard would've had no reason to live. He would've had nothing to do, so he tried to trick himself so he could continue searching. Or was Teddy lying about everything he told him at the end? Teddy doesn't look like a cop and he had been lying throughout the movie.

From what I got, the real killer was dead. The photo of him smiling with blood all over him sold me on that one. I think he was continuing on with the quest to find the killer because he had nothing else to live for, and because the memory of his wife's death was so fresh in his mind every day. So, yes, he tricked himself into thinking that Teddy was the killer (along with some help from "friends", of course).

I don't think Teddy was lying. The revelation that Leonard had altered his real memory to suit his quest is, I think, one of the major points in the film. Leonard relies on facts, as he says in one monologue, not memory, so it's not surprising (as well as a bit ironic) that he's altered his most important memory to suit his needs. He says he thinks people put too much on memory, so don't you think it's kind of interesting how he puts his whole life on that one memory, only to find out that he's tricked himself into thinking it was something it's not? Thats the way I think of it, anyway. I'm sure others have different interpretations, and I might as well once I see the film again.

Quote:
Who was the cop Leonard was talking to on the phone (I might have missed that part)?

I'm pretty sure the cop was Teddy. Remember, though Teddy claims at the end to have known Leonard for a long time prior, Teddy is attempting to get Leonard to murder someone, and thus doesn't reveal himself as a prior acquantince. The phone conversations take place before the actual movie does, and before he had taken that snapshot of Teddy. So I think, whether or not he was an actual cop, Teddy was the person Leonard was talking to on the phone.

Quote:
Also, if Leonard couldn't make any new memories after the accident, then how does he REMEMBER about his condition? Every time he wakes up, he seems to know that he has this rare condition and know about his quest to find the killer. Shouldn't he be confused every time he wakes up, thinking he has just woken the day after the accident and oblivious to the fact that he has amnesia? Whenever he wakes up, he seems to know what he is basically doing (trying to find the killer). He knows there are pictures in his pockets, and tattoos on his body to help him. He also knows that his wife died a long time ago. If he couldn't make new memories, everytime he woke up, he would've felt like his wife died just yesterday. What's the deal?

I think this is glazed over a little bit. True, sometimes he does snap into one of his new phases and seems to have the jist of whats going on, but he does consult his photos and body tatoos on numerous occasions. I don't think it could've been done any better, and if it went far enough to have him totally crazy every 15 minutes, I don't think there'd be much of a movie.

Also, there was that thing he mentioned about conditioning. It didn't work for Sammy in that story because it was a mental problem. Perhaps, from so many repeats, Leonard has an impulse to check his pockets for the photos when he wakes up. I think his memory loss was dealt with about as good as possible. Extremely balanced.

And about the waking up and feeling like his wife died, I think he does feel like that, and it's the driving force of his obsession. Remember the scene with the prostitute, how he has her recreate the night of the assault. Not only does he need to have it in his memory all the time, he needs to physically feel the event over and over again like it's new. Kinda pathetic and sad when you think about it.

Jeez...there's so much to talk about in this movie. Anyway, I loved Memento. One of the best films I've seen in a long time. It's definately one that needs to be seen MULTIPLE times in order to sort everything out. I think I did a pretty darn good job after my first viewing for such an incredibly complex film. Posted Image

#3 of 139 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 19 2001 - 02:10 AM

Quote:
I didn't get the part at the end when Teddy tells him his wife survived the accident and she is the one that's diabetic. If his wife was alive, why would Leonard think she's dead? and why wouldn't Leonard remember she is the diabetic one (since he remembers everything before that accident).

Here's my current interpretation. It will probably change after I see the film again:

Leonard's wife survived the attack, but she died as a result of insulin overdose when she tried to shock Leonard out of his condition. Leonard has transformed those events in his mind so that he thinks it happened to Sammy and his (fictitious) wife. Now, I know this would require Leonard to have the ability to form new memories after the attack -- and I think that's the point. Leonard's condition isn't physical; it's psychological, just as he determined Sammy's was. In fact, it was the investigation of Sammy's case that showed Leonard a psychological "strategy" for dealing with the memory of unbearable trauma (that's why a key tattoo tells him to "remember" Sammy). When his wife died, his psyche reordered events, shifted some of his experiences to Sammy, and set up a scenario in which his wife died in the attack, and he wasn't responsible -- a point that he can reinforce for himself over and over by always being on the hunt for her attackers.

Teddy is the one I still can't figure out. Why does he care? Why does he devote all this time and put himself at such risk to service Leonard's delusion?

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#4 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 19 2001 - 03:06 AM

If Teddy was the cop on the phone, how come at the end he says, "...some cop has been sticking things under your door, scaring you into picking up the phone..." or something like that. Also, when Leonard meets Teddy in the lobby, he asks him if he's the cop and Teddy looks at the guy at the desk and says, "uhh... yea..." like he was lying.

I agree with Michael about Teddy. Why would he devote all his time to Leonard? It seems Teddy goes to see Leonard every day. Teddy should've just committed him to a mental hospital. I think someone with this condition should be committed. Maybe Teddy is there to protect him, to make sure nobody takes advantage of him and his condition.

I also noticed that when he's not doing a lot of physical activity and when he's more calm, he can last a couple of hours without waking up. During more intense moments (like when he's running, or when Natalie was insulting him) he can last only a few minutes.

Quote:
True, sometimes he does snap into one of his new phases and seems to have the jist of whats going on

Example of this: He wakes up in the bathroom. He goes to take a shower. Dodd comes in to piss. For all he knows, Dodd could be his friend or something. Leonard already knows he's a bad guy and he automatically leaps out of the shower and assaults him.

Dave

BTW, Shouldn't Natalie have known that Leonard killed Jimmy? I mean, he's driving his car and wearing his suit during the entire movie.

#5 of 139 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 19 2001 - 03:26 AM

Quote:
BTW, Shouldn't Natalie have known that Leonard killed Jimmy? I mean, he's driving his car and wearing his suit during the entire movie.

I think she does know. She refers at one point to the fact that the suit and car belong to someone else. But Natalie's relationship with Jimmy isn't clear (he's referred to as her "boyfriend" but she falls into bed with Leonard pretty quickly). Natalie's story is something we never get in full -- just tantalizing fragments.

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#6 of 139 OFFLINE   Chuck Schick

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Posted March 19 2001 - 03:56 AM

I have a pretty different idea of what happened than you guys... which is the great thing about this movie.

As far as the "why does Teddy care so much about Leonard?" question... I believe Teddy was telling the truth, but he was a dirty cop and used Leonard as the perfect patsy for contract killing and drug dealings. I don't think that Jimmy (Jimmy/James/John G), was really Natalie's boyfriend... the picture she shows Leonard seems to be of a much heavier guy who looks similar to him... and he has a coaster in his suit pocket from Natalie's bar with a note to contact her. Why would Jimmy have that if he knew her? Why would Teddy not do anything after the murder and the drug money unless he was involved?

Leonard was sent in by Teddy and Natalie to botch Jimmy's drug deal and take the money... if the police caught him, Teddy and Natalie would never be remembered and be home free. Leonard was clearly hooked up w/ her thru Teddy. She calls Leonard the "memory freak Teddy knows" and was pissed off that he found the coaster and came back to her bar wearing the suit and driving the car full of money because it was an evidence trail straight back to her. But if you played the movie backward, of course, you'd see how she changed her attitude toward him to that of a victim and tried to get him to off Dodd as well, and Teddy and her try to play Leonard against each other.

As far as the beginning... I think I'm the only one here that believes there WAS NO ATTACK. This is why- he has a "remember Sammy Jankis" tatoo on his hand. If the Sammy story were true, the memory would have been intact before the attack, as Leonard can not make NEW memories since the attack. He was investigating Sammy prior. I believe that the rest of the Sammy story about the wife and the insulin, as well as the rape/murder of the wife was manufactured by Teddy, who first met Leonard investigating the death of his wife due to the overdose of Insulin. Leonard had the same degenerative memory condition that Sammy had, not one brought about by head trauma

This gave:
1) Teddy an accomplice to carry out the hits
2) An accomplice who could never finger Teddy because he would never remember who he was... even the picture of Teddy that Leonard had could be explained away as Teddy was the cop investigated his wife's death
3) Motivation for Leonard to be that accomplice (vengence of wife's rape and murder)

My questions....

1) How exactly did Leonard link "John G" as the killers name? If it was Teddy who did it, why? Obviously that was the reason Teddy gets killed in the end (I mean the beginning)

2) The 2 scratches on Leonards cheek throughout the movie, did he get them from the fight w/ Jimmy? Did he get them in that first murder where the Teddy took the picture of Leonard bloody and smiling? Can't remember
Chuck

#7 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 19 2001 - 05:38 AM

If Leonard had known Teddy over a year before the movie began (ended), would've he have taken Teddy's picture a long time ago? Long before they met in the lobby of the hotel.

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#8 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 19 2001 - 05:41 AM

Quote:
2) The 2 scratches on Leonards cheek throughout the movie, did he get them from the fight w/ Jimmy? Did he get them in that first murder where the Teddy took the picture of Leonard bloody and smiling? Can't remember

You might be on to something. In the photo, he ALSO had the scratches on his face. Teddy said that photo was taken over a year ago when he killed the real JOHN G. If the photo was taken a year ago, the scratches would've healed already. Since he had those scratches on his face throughout the movie, the photo must have been taken recently.

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#9 of 139 OFFLINE   Stephen R

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Posted March 19 2001 - 05:51 AM

Quote:
2) The 2 scratches on Leonards cheek throughout the movie, did he get them from the fight w/ Jimmy? Did he get them in that first murder where the Teddy took the picture of Leonard bloody and smiling? Can't remember

I had forgotten about the scratches, but now that I think about it, I'm almost positive that he DIDN'T have the scratches in the black and white segment. I'm pretty sure he got the scratches in his brawl with Jimmy.

#10 of 139 OFFLINE   Chuck Schick

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Posted March 19 2001 - 06:08 AM

Steven-

I agree w/ the others here that the cop on the phone w/ Leonard was Teddy. The way the movie unfolded, it seemed like we were being served more and more of the black and white scenes like they were the conclusion, when they were actually the earliest action of the movie we get to see. I think you are right about the scratches... they are not there.

I think that the B&W footage takes place after Teddy's first interaction w/ Leonard after the wife dies and the investigation is done, but before that first murder that we never see... it may have been a year later, or not. We can't really be sure, as it comes from Teddy. But maybe it is true and Teddy was lying low for a while, then came back to exploit Leonard's condition. They find the first victim, Leonard kills him, gets the scratches on his face, the bloody poloroid is taken (the first one he has, I think), then forgets the whole thing, and the hunt for a new John G (Jimmy Grantz) begins


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#11 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 19 2001 - 06:18 AM

Quote:
I agree w/ the others here that the cop on the phone w/ Leonard was Teddy.

But at the end, Teddy did say something like, "there's a cop who's putting things under your door scaring you into picking up the phone". Why would he say that if he was the guy on the phone?

Dave

#12 of 139 OFFLINE   Chuck Schick

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Posted March 19 2001 - 06:34 AM

Dave-

In going w/ my theory about Teddy using Leonard, I would say that Teddy presents himself in 2 ways- Teddy the good cop (on the phone) and Teddy the dirty cop (in the flesh). I think Teddy uses both personas to test where Leonard's loyalties are from day to day, especially if he is getting outside information or help (remember he does tell Leonard the truth about Natalie and the Jaguar). Between the cop and the hood, Teddy will always be able to get the real story from Leonard

Remember he has the "Don't answer the phone" tatoo? Do you think it was covered w/ that bandage because he wanted to start ignoring it, or just because it was a fresh tatoo and needed to heal? Remember Teddy slips the "Take my call" note? Leonard does go back on things he holds as truth a few times in the film... he had an original note about Natalie which was replaced by "She has also lost someone and will help you out of pity" after she feigned the attack by Dodd.

#13 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 19 2001 - 07:23 AM

Quote:
he had an original note about Natalie which was replaced by "She has also lost someone and will help you out of pity" after she feigned the attack by Dodd.

His original note was something like "don't trust her" which Teddy told him not to do. He then looked at Teddy's picture which said "DON'T TRUST HIS LIES", so he crossed out the original note. Later, after Natalie said "I've also lost someone", he wrote that she will help him out of pity.

Dave

#14 of 139 OFFLINE   Chuck Schick

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Posted March 19 2001 - 10:33 AM

OK- side question

Anyone know the title of the David Bowie song that's played in the end credits?

CS

#15 of 139 OFFLINE   Stephen R

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Posted March 19 2001 - 02:10 PM

Hey guys...I just discovered something on the film's main website (www.otnemem.com). Go there and look around a bit...there's a newspaper clipping that rather conspiciously tells whether or not Leonard's wife was killed in the assault...

#16 of 139 OFFLINE   David Ren

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Posted March 19 2001 - 03:11 PM

I looked through the website carefully and here's what I pieced together:

- In the newspaper article about the attack, Catherine Shelby was listed as "in critical condition" after being "sexually assaulted". The attack happened on 2/24/97 at about 2AM. The rapist was shot and killed by Leonard. Leonard recieved blows to his head.

- Leonard got sent to a psychiatric hospital after being evaluated as "an alleged mentally sick person"

- Leonard writes himself notes to let him know what's going on everyday "You are in a hospital..."

- In interviews with the doctors, the doctors report "...he demanded to see his wife (deceased 11/97)." That is 9 months after the accident.

- Leonard "seems convinced that the police have overlooked a second man involved in incident in his house in which he was injured. Leonard identifies the man as John G." Doctors have turned this information over to the SF Police Department. He writes to himself, "You got one of them Leonard. Remember? But you didn't get the other one. The one that got away."

- He escapes from the hospital in 9/98.

- A few days after he kills Teddy in the beginning (end) of the movie, the police go to his motel room and find all his pictures, documents, gun, etc. The motel staff says he hasn't been there for several days.

Now I want to know:

1) If the accident was 2/97, how did his wife die in november? Was it from a entirely different incident or was she in a coma for nine months and then died?

2) How did Leonard get the name JOHN G and connect it with the killer if he was in a hospital the whole time?

3) If after he kills Teddy he leaves behind all his photos and documents (like the news article says), wouldn't he forget everything that has happened? The photos and documents are basically his "memory" and if he leaves them behind, he would be clueless.

Dave

BTW, How come no one else is participating in this discussion? It seems to be only Stephen, Michael, Chuck, and myself. Are we the only ones that saw this wonderful movie?

#17 of 139 OFFLINE   Iain Lambert

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Posted March 19 2001 - 08:01 PM

I've saw this superb film back in December, but without it fresh in my head I've been lurking until the upcoming UK DVD hits rental (yes, its priced for rental to start with, to stop you nice US people importing it).

I basically agree with Michael as well, so theres not too much I can add, other than to rave once again about this wonderful movie. If anyone lurking hasn't seen it yet (shame on you for reading all these spoilers), do so.
mmm, thats odd.

#18 of 139 OFFLINE   EugeneR

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Posted March 19 2001 - 08:48 PM

I pretty much agree with Michael's analysis too. Got another question for you guys:

When Lenny tries to take Teddy's picture, Teddy quickly glances around and says "Not here" and makes Lenny walk over a few steps to the truck and then lets him take his picture. Why?

Another thing that I noticed, although this is likely just a continuity problem: On Natalie's picture, Lenny scratches off "don't trust her" but when you see him do it, the writing is still semi-legible. When you see the picture earlier in the film, the writing is completely blacked out.

#19 of 139 OFFLINE   Ross Williams

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Posted March 20 2001 - 04:51 AM

My interpretations of this film and discussion.

Leonard is the one that killed his wife, with the overdose of insulin. This Sammy Jenkins character may have existed before his condition started, so he convienently remembers it that Sammy is the one that did it.

Now how has he changed that fact when he supposedly remembers everything before the accident? His condition is psychological, not physical. Therefore he remembers what he wants to. After the accident he probably sat around watching commercials in this state, his wife trying to break him out of it gave him the insulin test. He kills her and does realize it on some level. He invents this second murderer John G, which gives him some kind of life purpose.

Somehow Teddy becomes involved and helps him kill at least one person, the proof being the happy polaroid. Teddy is the cop on the phone, is using him. For how long I don't know. Teddy and Natalie are somehow in it together, they want Leonard to kill this Jimmy guy. He does, Teddy reminds him of the truth of the situation, Leonard doesn't like the truth, so he sets out to kill Teddy, by writing down his license plate number and burning the other polaroids.

One question is does he continue to kill more John G's after he kills Teddy? Where does he go from there? He has got Teddy's licence number tattooed on him as a fact.

I could be wrong about a few things here, please correct me in any spot where you see an error. I really need to go see it again.

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#20 of 139 OFFLINE   Chuck Schick

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Posted March 20 2001 - 04:53 AM

Ross- I think you and I are in total agreement

I just checked out the website. Don't you think it's odd that he would not be carrying that newspaper clipping of the attack that they have on the website, and that there are no hard facts like that anywhere in the movie to let us KNOW she was raped and murdered? The site is not there to tell us the how the movie ends, it's to support the little we're supposed to know going in about how it begins- it's a movie was about a man who was attacked, his wife murdered and he's left piecing his memories together as he seeks revenge... but I don't believe that's what the movie shows us really happened. I am going to stand by what I saw in the movie. I say: screw the website!

Eugene- that is a good question, I was thinking about that too. I am going to catch that movie again and see how my theory holds up.

And I have one other thing to add on Ross' post- perhaps the pain of his wife was so severe that his is able to remember one thing linked to her death... that a "John G" is involved. But that "John G" is Teddy, the cop investigating his wife's death, this is the only memory he can grasp on to. This is the first memory he tatoos on himself

Remember- Teddy only admits he is John G at the end of the movie (beginning of the events). He says "Only my mother calls me Teddy", but then only goes by Teddy the rest of the movie to keep the deceptive partnership going... little does he know that in that brief time Leonard writes "Don't believe his lies" on the poloroid and takes down his license plate, which proves to be a crucial mistake in the end, and Leonard kills him

CS




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