Memento Editing Analysis

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Sean Remington
April 20, 2013
Editing Analysis
Professor John Cole
When I was thinking about what film I should write about on editing only one film came to mind, and that film is Memento. Memento was directed by the great Christopher Nolan and starred Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby. Memento is known for its very unconventional editing and nontraditional storytelling. Memento is broken up into two different types of scenes. The first type of scene is the main plot of the story where each scene takes places further back on the storyline then the previous scene starting with the final scene in the plot, these scenes are in color. The second type is the subplot of the film which starts at the very beginning of the story and works its way forward until it eventually meets up with the scenes moving backwards, these scenes are in black and white. Memento's unconventional, nonlinear narrative structure is what makes this film so fantastic.

In Memento Guy Pearce plays Leonard Shelby who is seeking the man who raped and killed his wife so he can have his revenge. The only problem is that Leonard suffers from short-term memory loss which was a result of him trying to stop his wife's murderer. In order to find the person he's looking for and remember his mission he takes pictures with a Polaroid camera, writes down notes, and gets tattoos of the facts about his wife's killer. Leonard lives in roughly fifteen minute increments.

Memento opens with a reversed time flow of Leonard killing Teddy and then taking a picture of his body. After times rewinds enough we see Leonard shoot Teddy in the head and then it cuts to the first black and white scene. Now every scene in color from there on out is in a reverse order sequence, meaning that each scene in color takes place within the plot before the previous scene in color. I believe that the opening rewind of Leonard killing Teddy helps establish the fact that the rest of the scenes in color are going to go back in time...
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