Memento (2000) Poster



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  • While aspects of many movies are debatable and open to interpretations, this FAQ page is not about what could be possible in a film if we presume all sorts of things that are not indicated or even suggested by the filmmakers. This FAQ page is dedicated to answering questions about the film and what the filmmaker created. Any debate on other alternatives should be presented in reviews or discussed in external blogs/forums/wikis. The question and answers will deal with what is portrayed within the film and suggested by the creators of the film. Edit

  • There tend to be several schools of thought regarding the film's interpretation. One is that Teddy is lying at the end and that there is no full exposition in the film or even that the film encourages one to create their own explanation. Another school of thought is that Teddy provides the exposition for the film. Even though there is no confirmation of Teddy's story, there is also nothing refuting it and Teddy is the only source of information in the film for the events from the attack to the start of the film, so it is the most complete explanation which can come from the film. The events leading up to and through the movie are with this presumption (also included are added "facts" from the supplemental material for completeness). Unlike the movie, this explanation is presented in chronological order.

    Leonard is an insurance investigator. One of his early cases is Sammy Jankis. Leonard relates how Sammy was in a car accident and acquired "anterograde memory dysfunction" (AMD). Leonard studies up and learns about this condition, and investigates Sammy and his testing. Sammy is not married and he is eventually discovered to be faking his condition. [It seems that the big "giveaway" to the audience is due to Sammy's incorrect assumptions on this condition. He did not pretend to learn through conditioning and kept getting shocked by the same electrified objects instead of learning to avoid them, as someone with AMD would do.]

    Later Leonard and his wife were attacked. His wife was raped. Leonard killed one of the attackers, but he was hit in the head by the second attacker. His wife, however, did not die in the attack. After the attack, Leonard (ironically) got AMD, the same condition he studied about earlier. Leonard was not focused and was content to just pretty much do nothing. He had no goals to drive him to do anything. [There are many possibilities about what happened with this investigation, most likely the cops took an easy way out (as Leonard suggested) and never looked for a second attacker...] His wife tried working with him, but eventually got "sick of this" and decided to try to snap Leonard out of it or just wanted to die. She used her diabetes to either "test Leonard" or (more likely) have him assist in killing her with an insulin overdose. At this point, Teddy is brought in to investigate Leonard's wife's death. Leonard, on some level, "remembers" killing her and starts to become more "focused".

    Teddy and Leonard do some investigating on finding Leonard's new quest, the hunt for the second attacker. They eventually discover a partial name (John G), which coincidentally also matches Teddy's name. Leonard eventually is found "not guilty" of the death (most likely due to his condition) and is placed in a mental institute. During his stay, he learns to cope better with his condition, through notes and photos. He has a focus and a goal (finding and killing John G).

    Leonard escapes from the institute and somehow hooks back up with Teddy. Teddy and Leonard track down and kill the second attacker. Leonard gets his picture taken with his finger pointing to his chest. Leonard's quest is complete, Teddy is happy to have helped in the vengeance. But, the "killing" does not "stick". Leonard does not believe it as well as some other elements of the truth, and starts to "delete items" from the file. Teddy leads Leonard along, continuing the investigation for some time. Eventually Teddy reluctantly decides to try and make Leonard happy again, by finding some "bad guy", killing him, and also making some money. He decides on Jimmy Grantz. He feeds info to Leonard to indicate that the first name may also be "James" (not just "John") and begins the feeding to Leonard of the information.

    The movie takes place a little over a year since the killing of the second attacker, Leonard discovers the truth and decides to setup Teddy. Like the items in his file that do not match Leonard's belief of what happened, the evidence that he has already killed two "John G"s is destroyed, and Teddy is "marked for deletion" by Leonard with the "fact" of the license plate. Leonard finds a note from Natalie (meant for Jimmy to meet her "after") and thinks it is for him. He meets Natalie at Ferdy's bar. Natalie tries using Leonard to kill Dodd, Jimmy's partner, who she wants out of the picture because she says Dodd may come after her looking for the money. Leonard will not kill for Natalie but runs Dodd out of town. Natalie takes pity on Leonard and helps him in his quest by running the license plate for him. Leonard then meets Teddy after convincing himself that Teddy is John G, and kills him. Leonard probably killed the first John G right after escaping (which was "over a year ago" as Teddy said in the film). Edit

  • It can not be proved whether he is truthful or not, based on information in the film since there is no reliable narrator to confirm anything, and thus the opinion on this tends to be split. The biggest support for he his telling the truth tends to come from that it provides an answer to the mysteries in the film. The other fact is that Leonard seems to believe him, which he would have no reason to do if he believed Teddy was a liar. However, Teddy is definitely not always truthful and he is shown using Leonard's condition and manipulating him and even admits to lying.

    Nolan has provided several commentaries for the film, one where he claims Teddy is being truthful but also another where he claims Teddy is lying seemingly supporting both interpretations.

    Teddy's reminding Leonard of his real name (in spite of the danger connected) adds credibility to his words, as does the photograph. Most importantly, however, Leonard's actions show that he believes Teddy and indicates to us that Teddy is telling the truth, as in we do not know the truth of it, but Leonard does. If Leonard knew Teddy was lying, and that his true quest was not done, some argue he would not have changed the hunt to Teddy. Leonard is shown remembering giving his wife injections, he is shown lying and denying it. Leonard even admits to himself he will lie to himself. He sets up Teddy (knowing he is not the second attacker) and decides to make himself never believe Teddy by lying to himself and saying that Teddy is a liar.

    However, as Leonard himself said in the film, "memories can be distorted; they're an interpretation, not a record." Long term memory degrades in time also, whether people have Leonard's condition or not. Leonard's memory of himself giving his wife an injection can be simply that—an imagination, a distortion of his memories, an indication that neither Teddy nor Leonard is reliable. In other words he stalls, confirming that Teddy's confusing (and untruthful) logic is working to at least to some effect, though why Leonard is so confused that he would imagine preparing syringes before Teddy mentions Leonard's wife being diabetic and also has them long after he has forgotten Teddy seems to raise some doubts about the "imagination" aspect of it, leaving the theories of how "instinct" works. Edit

  • One can accept the exposition provided in the film by Teddy. As Nolan indicated in one of the commentary track: "A lot of people watch the film would rather believe Teddy and the appalling ideas that he presents than to go without an answer". Since the film does not provide any proof of whether Teddy is lying or not, is also allows one to presume that Teddy is lying and that the film provides no answers. This allows viewers to create dozens of alternative theories and to make speculations that don't come from the film. Some of these involve only presuming that Teddy lying, some presume that Leonard is lying, and some presume that Leonard may be faking his condition. Some raise the question of whether Leonard could literally be Sammy Jankis or that Sammy is completely fictional, whether or not there was an attack, whether Leonard was married, etc. If there was an attack, speculation on Dodd's and Natalie's role in the attack and in the setup of Jimmy and Teddy has also been debated. Some alternative theories even involve manipulations by characters never shown within the film. There is even speculation that Teddy made up the story of Sammy Jankis and somehow has the ability to implant it into Leonard's mind. In addition to the dozens of alternate theories possible when Teddy is presumed to be lying, there are essentially an infinite number of possibilities if one presumes that the events in the film did not happen at all or may be just shadows and inaccurate recollections of one of the characters or even that the film is meant to be just an enormous dream sequence. Edit

  • In the Salon article "Everything you wanted to know about 'Memento'", Andy Klein discusses this idea. He indicates:

    Is there an answer? I don’t know. Christopher Nolan claims there is one. In an article in New Times Los Angeles on March 15, [2001, when the movie was released in the US] Scott Timberg writes: “Nolan, for his part, won’t tell. When asked about the film’s outcome, he goes on about ambiguity and subjectivity, but insists he knows the movie’s Truth — who’s good, who’s bad, who can be trusted and who can’t — and insists that close viewing will reveal all.” [Note for context: Klein also goes onto say that he believes Nolan is not being totally truthful about this, but Klein admits that does not know.]

    Nolan also commented on the film having answers:

    I believe the answers are all there in the film, but the terms of the storytelling deliberately prevent people from finding them. If you watch the film, and abandon your conventional desire for absolute truth - and the confirmation of absolute truth that most films provide you with - then you can find all the answers you're looking for. As far as I'm concerned, my view is very much in the film - the answers are all there for the attentive viewer, but the terms of the storytelling prevent me from being able to give the audience absolute confirmation. And that's the point.

    [From James Mottram's "The Making of Memento", 2002, Faber and Faber Limited, page 26.]

    So one of the problems Nolan gives to us is that we never know what the truth is. There are thus many possible ways to analyze the film even though not all the interpretations seem to be equally likely.

    In "Past Imperfect", an interview with Chuck Stephens for Filmmaker magazine in 2001, Nolan also stated:

    The most interesting part of that for me is that audiences seem very unwilling to believe the stuff that Teddy says at the end – and yet why? I think its because people have spent the entire film looking at Leonard's photograph of Teddy, with the caption: "Don't believe his lies." That image really stays in people's heads, and they still prefer to trust that image even after we make it very clear that Leonard's visual recollection is completely questionable. It was quite surprising, and it wasn't planned. What was always planned was that we dont ever step completely outside Leonard's head, and that we keep the audience in that interpretive mode of trying to analyze what they want to believe or not. For me, the crux of the movie is that the one guy who might actually be the authority on the truth of what happened is played by Joe Pantoliano, who is so untrustworthy, especially given the baggage he carries in from his other movies: he's already seen by audiences as this character actor who's always unreliable. I find it very frightening, really, the level of uncertainty and malevolence Joe brings to the film. Edit

  • Chronologically, the black-and-white sequences come first, the color sequences come next. The color sequences are alternated with black-and-white sequences. The B&W sequences are put together in the correct chronological order. The color ones, though shown forward (except for the very first one) are ordered in reverse. Overall this gives the film a "hairpin plotting" alternating from "reverse flowing" pathway to "forward flowing" pathway. Using the numbering scheme suggested by Andy Klein in his article for Salon magazine who took numbers from 1 to 22 for the B&W scenes and letters A-V for the color ones the plotting of the film as presented is: Opening Credits (shown "backwards"), 1, V, 2, U, 3, T, 4, S, ..., 22/A, Credits. There is a smooth transition from B&W sequence 22 to color sequence A and it occurs during the development of a "Polaroid" photo. If mapped out the sequencing looks like this as the plot spirals through the story:

    >>>>>> Chronological Flow >>>>>> (Black and White Sequences)

    [Start of >>1>>> >>2>>> .... >>21>>> >>22>>> EndCredits Story] ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / / \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ / /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ [End of / / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ Story] ^ ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v Opening <<<V<< <<<U<< <<<C<< <<<B<< <<<A<< [Backwards Sequence] (Color Sequences) <<<<<< Chronological Flow <<<<<<

    A graphical representation of the film is also available online. The chronological order of the story is (and can be viewed as a "Hidden feature" on many of the DVDs) Credits (run in reverse), 1, 2, 3, ..., 22, A, B, ..., V, then the Opening title run "backwards" to what was shown (the opening title sequence is ran in reverse during the actual film, so it is shown in the correct way in this version). Stefano Ghislotti also has an article called "Backwards: Memory and Fabula Construction in Memento by Christopher Nolan" which discusses how Nolan provides us the clues necessary for us to decode the plotline as we watch and help us understand the story from it. Edit

  • While Nolan has never discussed the reasons in detail, there has been some speculation on what purposes within the film the non-linear plotting may seem to serve.

    (1) The reverse color sequencing puts us into Leonard's mind. We have to "go with the flow" like Leonard does and try to understand what things are with little or no context. We get confused a little and must make assumptions and deductions, just like Leonard must do. But unlike Leonard, we can see how well we "guessed" what was going on, since we can put the events more into context when we see the later movie scenes (earlier story scenes)

    (2) It puts the twist at the end of the film instead of only one third of the way into the story.

    (3) It allows Nolan to play with our perceptions of the characters. At the beginning their motivations seem very clear, but at the end we just can not be sure. We initially see (in movie order) Teddy as the second attacker, Leonard as the hero, Natalie as the helper when we first meet them. At the end of the film, these perceptions are much less clear. Is Teddy the second attacker, is he a villain, is he actually more of a friend/victim? Natalie is shown to be using Leonard, but was she also taking pity on him and is trying to help on some level? At the end of the film we see Leonard's actions (setting up Teddy) but his motivations are much less clear at the end. We don't know if he is abandoning the real quest believing it is unattainable or if he feels that Jimmy deserves vengeance more than his own wife or even if he is trying to eliminate Teddy so that he is never reminded that the 2nd attacker is dead. The movie is not explicit with its answers.

    (4) The hairpin narrative of the plotting is set up like a spiral (see above for an explanation of the sequences of the film). This sequencing and the theme of repetition has been seen as a way to suggest Leonard's life after his wife's death as a spiral: the events in the past have happened similarly before, and that they may happen again, It has also been seen as a moral lesson to the audience: The path Leonard seems to have chosen may ultimately drag him down and destroy him if he can't get out of the loop.

    (5) It's really the only way to have the audience relate to Leonard (not knowing what happened prior). Were it to all be connected linearly, we would know everything that happened prior which would make the story more predictable and less interesting. We would know from the beginning that Leonard had set himself on the path to kill Teddy and the how wouldn't really have much of a twist. Edit

  • While some may believe anything we see may be subject to interpretation and none is objective facts (only subjective) this analysis leads to an infinite number of solutions for an answer and allows any interpretation to be valid which does not seem to be a reasonable answer. It seems more likely that we should accept the events that we see occur during the film to be true. Most people seem to believe that the events we see occur in the movie are facts. For example, we see Leonard kill Teddy. This then becomes a fact. The reason he did it, what he believes at the time can all be conjectured, but they will never be facts. On the other hand, the "Sammy Story" or the recollection of the attack that Leonard tells to people, are not composed of facts. It would be a fact that Leonard stated these things, but the events we "see" Leonard tell us about, we did not see happen: Leonard may be lying or just mistaken. We can conjecture things that do not agree with what Leonard says, but those conjectures must be supportable by being able to explain why Leonard is lying or how he becomes mistaken. There must be a motivation for someone to lie (not simply that he is lying, since he is a liar) that is part of the theory.

    When the story is broken out (with no other conjectures) we can see the events we would then judge as facts: The chronology starts with the second scene in the film (the first Black & White scene). The BW scenes are in order and go thru the initial chronology. Leonard is in the hotel talking on the phone, explaining about Sammy and shaving his leg. The person on the phone (presumably Teddy, though we are never shown for sure who it is) is giving him some info about the case. Leonard tattoos fact 5 ("drug dealer") and eventually meets Teddy and goes to meet a man (Jimmy Grantz) who Leonard thinks killed his wife. Leonard meets and kills Jimmy and takes his picture. As his picture develops we move from BW to the color sequences. [Note these sequences while shown forward, are ordered in reverse order and alternate with the BW sequences]

    Teddy comes (pretends he does not know Leonard, though Leonard is aware that they have met due to his note on Teddy's picture) and Leonard gets angry with him. Leonard is also upset that Jimmy seemed to know about Sammy which means he also must have met Jimmy before now. Teddy tells Leonard that Sammy was a faker with no wife and that Leonard's wife was diabetic. Leonard decides to set Teddy up as his next victim by writing down Teddy's license plate as "fact 6" and also indicating that he should not believe Teddy's lies. Leonard tosses Teddy's keys, steals Jimmy's car and leaves Teddy trying to find his keys. Leonard goes to Emma's and gets fact 6 tattooed on his leg. Teddy finds Leonard there. They argue, Leonard sneaks out the back, finds a note that Natalie gave to Jimmy in the clothes Leonard stole, and thinking it is meant for him, goes to meet Natalie at the bar. Natalie seems suspicious and a little afraid of this man in Jimmy's clothes and car and tries to figure out what is going on. Leonard tells her about his condition and she tests him with the "spit drink". Later they leave the bar and go to her house. At Natalie's, Leonard explains about the attack and Natalie eventually leaves Leonard alone in her home. When she returns she comes back acting upset, hides all the pens, and tries to convince Leonard to kill Dodd. She even tells Leonard that she is going to use him. She gets Leonard angry enough to punch her. She then leaves. She waits in her car for some time, presumably giving time for Leonard to forget, and then returns pretending that Dodd beat her up. She gives him info about Dodd and how Leonard can find him. Leonard leaves. Teddy is waiting in Leonard's car and tries to convince Leonard that Natalie is not to be trusted. Leonard writes this on her picture, but after Teddy leaves the "don't believe his lies" convinces him to cross it out. Teddy also told him to get a room at the discount inn, which he does. (and Burt gives him a new room) At the motel, he calls an escort and "relives the attack". He then leaves with the items from the motel and burns them during the rest of the evening.

    In the morning, Dodd finds Leonard and tries to kill him. Leonard escapes and using the note from Natalie, waits for Dodd in Dodd's motel room. Leonard showers and eventually beats up Dodd and ties him up in the closet. Not knowing what to do later he calls Teddy. Teddy and Leonard "run Dodd out of town". Later Leonard finds the picture of Dodd and Natalie's note and confronts her about Dodd. Leonard spends the night at Natalie's. The next morning Leonard and Natalie setup a meeting when they can meet and Natalie can provide info she will get from her friend at the DMV about "John G"s license plate. Leonard leaves, Teddy is waiting and they go to lunch. Leonard then goes back to the Discount Inn but has no key. Burt takes him into his old room and tells him about renting more than 1 room. Leonard sees the note about his meeting with Natalie. Leonard meets Natalie at the cafe, where she gives him the license plate info which is Teddy's driver's license info (exactly as Leonard intended when he wrote it down). Natalie gives Leonard an address/directions to an "abandoned place outside of town" where her boyfriend did "bigger deals". They both leave and Leonard goes back to the Discount Inn. Back in his room, Leonard looks over his facts, calls Teddy, notices that Teddy is the man on the license photo, realizes what the facts indicate had occurred, adds the note to Teddy's picture "He is the one" and then "kill him". Leonard meets Teddy in the lobby and they drive to the abandoned location where Leonard shoots Teddy.

    While this description details what happens in the film it really does not explain anything. It is like a mystery movie, we know the facts of what happened and who was killed, but we want to know the details of what happened. Why did the events occur as they did. Are people lying, when and why? There are all sorts of questions that are raised during the film. A listing of the facts is just not enough to satisfy us. We must analyze the film to try to understand it. Edit

  • Jonathan Nolan's short story Memento Mori was inspired by an idea he had about a man with AMD obsessed with revenge. [The same idea (not the short story) inspired Christopher Nolan's script for this film.] Christopher Nolan (from an interview originally on the 22 March 2001 episode [season 5 episode 2] of the Independent Film Channel's TV series Independent Focus, available on the 1-disc US DVD) explains:

    It was based on a short story that my brother, Jonah, was writing that's just been published* in Esquire magazine and he told it to me about 3 years ago while we were driving from Chicago to Los Angeles. He said I'm working on a story and it's about this guy with this condition, he can't make new memories, and he's looking for revenge. He's looking for the guy who killed his wife.

    I just thought it was such a fantastic idea, such a way into the film noir genre, a way to kind of reassess some of the over familiar tropes, really. And I said to him, can I take it and write a screenplay from it while you work on your story and get it the way you want. And he said yes, which was lucky because in the end it actually took him as long to finish the story as it did for us to finish making the film.

    [* = It was published in the March 2001 Volume of Esquire]

    The movie script (with the short story) can be found on IMSDb here. Note: Both can be found in the Region 1 (2-disc) Limited Edition and the 3-disc Region 2 Special Edition DVDs. The short story but not the script is also available on the 1-disc Region 1 DVD. A paperback book containing script for the film (and for one other Nolan film) is available for purchase through Amazon here. Edit

  • This was due to the rules of the Academy which nominates the Oscars. There are two writing nominations possible: The Adapted Screenplay award is for the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source (novel or play usually), and the Original Screenplay award is for the writer of a script not based on previously-published material. The key point in the distinction is the phrase "previously-published". The film Memento was released before the short story was published, so based on the Academy rules, it was not based on any previously published material so was considered an "original screenplay". But the Writers Branch Executive Committee was aware of Academy was informed of the entire circumstances and therefore considered it a collaborative story/screenplay for awarding of the nomination. Edit

  • One of the problems with shooting on black-and-white film stock is, if it is to be mixed with colour sequences, it has, ultimately, to be printed on colour film stock. Early on, Nolan and his director of photography, Wally Pfister, saw the black-and-white dailies (printed to black-and-white stock), and marvelled at the sharp contrast. "I had the deep blacks, so I felt I was right on course," says Pfister. When they were printed to colour, contrast and sharpness was lost, and an unwelcome colour tint was gained. "It was really a downer," he adds: "Chris really accepted it. For me it was such a disappointment. In the end, when we had to print to colour, the lab really were never able to nail the look. You inherently get a colour tinting on it, so we had to choose between a reddish tint or a blueish tint. In the end, we aimed towards the blue."

    [From James Mottram's The Making of Memento, 2002, Faber and Faber Limited, page 87] Edit

  • People with this condition sometimes do know they have this condition. The "classic example" is a case study of a man called "H.M." [after his death in 2008, the need for anonymity was gone and his name was revealed to be Henry Molaison]. H.M.'s was a "pure case" caused by surgery and not an accident. He had epileptic seizures and the doctors believed that if they removed some of his temporal lobe (including the hippocampus), then he would no longer get them. The doctors were correct in this respect: they cured him of his seizures. He also got this condition since (it was later discovered) the hippocampus is important to the "consolidation" of memory (converting the short-term to long-term memory). H.M. does know he has a condition:

    In case you're wondering, he was aware of his condition as illustrated in his often quoted statement: "Every day is alone in itself, whatever enjoyment I've had, and whatever sorrow I've had. Right now, I'm wondering. Have I done or said anything amiss? You see, at this moment everything looks clear to me, but what happened just before? That's what worries me. It's like waking from a dream; I just don't remember." (Note: The referenced PDF file is quoting from the article: Milner, B. (1970) Memory and the temporal regions of the brain. In Biology of Memory, K.H. Pribram and De.E. Broadbent (Eds.). New York: Academic Press., p. 37.) Perhaps even more explicit is the quote from "Neuroimaging H.M.: A 10-year follow-up examination" by D.H. Salat, et al: "His [H.M.'s] insight into his condition is excellent. He is always aware that he has a memory impairment and does not confabulate to conceal it."

    Clive Wearing, who has one the most severe cases of this condition, seems to be aware of his problem and will speak about it. Dr Michael Oddy, neuropsychologist at Ticehurst House Hospital (where Clive stays), indicates in The Mind, 2nd edition, "The Clive Wearing Story, Part 2: Living Without Memory" (Part 2a): We try to train the staff so that they don't ask Clive questions or begin discussions which put a load on his memory. For example, if you ask Clive "How are you today?" there's an implicit demand on "Well, I'm better today than I was yesterday" and he gets quite upset and he will then start to talk about how he's been ill and how he can see and hear for the first time.   The "Remember Sammy Jankis" tattoo is also an aid to Leonard to associate his "problem" with his real investigation of Sammy and his discovery of this condition. He realizes he has a problem and can then deduce what it is from the clues at hand. Edit

  • (1) ...Burt's name when Burt is showing him the wrong room? (2) ...the note on Natalie's pic about helping out of pity? (3) lock the car doors after Teddy tells him to? (4) ...that he is on Tattoo Fact 6?   These are some questions that come up periodically and seem to indicate to people that Leonard must be faking despite the other evidence/facts in the film that clearly indicate that he is not faking. While it is possible that all of these instances are just goofs in the film, all of these can be explained by editing. There does not seem to be any reason to presume errors, when editing explains things very well. It is clear we do not see Leonard 24 hours per day and 7 days a week. We only see him for a total of about 2 hours over the course of presumably about 3 days. There is a lot of information that we do not see. It should be clear that just because we do not actually see Leonard (or anyone else) do something that not seeing it does is not meant to indicate that it is not done. While we see Leonard go to the bathroom, we never see him have a bowel movement. That does not mean we should presume that Nolan is indicating that this condition makes Leonard no longer able to have a bowel movement or that the condition allows him no longer to need bowel movements. These parts have been edited out as they are in most movies, even when people do not have a mental condition. Also, if we see Leonard at point A and then at point D, barring other info, it can be presumed that he went thru points B and C. It does not prove that he went thru points B and C, but as there is nothing to indicate that he did not so, it is a valid presumption.

    Additionally, as with all of us, Leonard's memory appears to work better sometimes and sometimes (also like most of us!) his memory appears to not work well at all! It appears that film subtly hints on occasions that Leonard is able to hold his memory for extraordinary amounts of time, for a man with his condition.

    - Knowing Burt's name:

    In the case of Leonard knowing Burt's name, we are shown on different occasions (in the lobby, on the phone, etc) that Burt tells Leonard his name. It is almost as if he is amazed that Leonard can not remember him. When Leonard and Burt go from the lobby to Leonard's old room, there is a cut and we do not hear their conversation in transit. It is not improbable that they talked during this time and Burt could have mentioned his name again. Thus when Leonard referred to him by name, he might have just heard it offscreen.

    - Note on Natalie's pic about helping out of pity:

    This is the strongest scene in the film that indicates Leonard may be faking since he seems to have held onto his memory for an extraordinary amount of time, perhaps an hour or so. Of course it is another that can be explained easily by editing. Natalie tells Leonard she lost someone, then time passes. Leonard gets up in the middle of the night and writes on Natalie's pic that she will help him out of pity. This is a long time for him to remember if he is remembering when we saw them discuss it. However, it is not hard to imagine that Leonard had repeat conversations on many subjects. Nolan wisely does not show us all this repetition. The fact is that we do not see or hear the conversation that took place while they were in bed, immediately before Leonard gets up. It is possible that this was the very conversation that they were having. Supporting this is the sorrowful look on Natalie's face. Her face is consistent with someone who had just been speaking about someone they had lost recently.

    - Locking the car door:

    This seems to have been put in by Nolan as a red herring to give people a suggestion that he may be faking, while providing other clues to indicate that he is definitely not faking. The facts are that we see Leonard lock his car every time (at least every time he does so on camera) after he finds Teddy in his car and Teddy tells him to lock his car. Leonard even does this even when it makes no sense, since much of the time the window is broken. But just because we see him lock it afterwards, is in no way proof that he did not lock it before. Many people lock their car doors and make it a habit. [Many parents try to instill the habit in their children even before they drive: you get out of the car, you lock the door; you get in the car and you buckle the seatbelt.] So even though Nolan made a point of showing him lock his car after Teddy told him to, does not mean that Leonard did not do it before Teddy told him to do it.

    It has been brought up that all the times we see Leonard get out of his car before Teddy told him to lock, we never see Leonard lock the door. This is true: we never see him lock the door. But the fact remains, we never see him not lock the door, either. We do not know whether the door was locked or not. We see Leonard get out of the car three times before Teddy tells him to lock it: (1) At Emma's for Tattoo, (2) At Ferdy's Bar by the dumpster, (3) At Natalie's house. In not one of these scenes is it shown whether or not he locks the car. In every case, the scene is cut before Leonard would be locking it. It may be speculated that perhaps Nolan and Dody Dorn cut these scenes quickly for a reason and showed later in other scenes that he was locking. Their intent may have been to confuse some of the viewers and make them come to a conclusion that Leonard is faking if they do not pay attention to the other clues in the film. They are misleading by not showing us something, allowing people to believe something that may not be true. Also, even though we do not see whether or not Leonard locked the door outside Emma's, we are shown that when he leaves Emma's he definitely unlocks the door. While this is not proof he had it locked, but if he is conditioned to unlock it, it supports the notion that he could be conditioned to also lock it. So since we have three instances that we do not know whether he locked or not, and no instances when we are shown him not locking it, there does not seem to be any proof that Leonard never locks the car before Teddy tells him to. While it is a habit that people lock their car doors or that it is common sense for them to do so, people also forget to do it. Even if Leonard did lock the car door, he could forget to do it just as people without this condition would do. Even given his condition, he would not be any more likely to forget since locking the door is an implicit response formed by habit and routine.

    - Tattoo Fact 6:

    This is probably the most controversial. The editing is not really that apparent; the scene is almost cut as one long shot, so a time delay is really not apparent. Based on the script, it is apparent that other scenes were to be put into the sequence. These were either filmed and cut or not filmed at all. In either case, they are not in the film and the sequence seems to have no real breaks in the action. Many people just presume and accept that the sequence is an editing error, and leave it at that. However, it can still be explained through editing. We know that Leonard makes lists, he summarizes his facts for easy retrieval. It is possible (i.e. there is nothing in the film that makes it impossible) that Leonard has made a list of tattoo facts that he can refer to. If he did have a list, a good place for it would be in his pocket with the notecards so he would see it when he was going to tattoo a fact. It is even possible that he writes the facts on a card then to make sure it is not lost; he could write the next one onto the back of this card. Then later, after getting the tattoo, he would rewrite the list and place it in his pocket, ready for the next one. The list is the tattoos he has, the card is the tattoos he needs. In the sequence of events, we do not see everything that Leonard looks at, but it is clear that he looks down in the direction of his pocket. It is possible that he could pick out a card with tattoo facts 1 through 5 listed, could note that it goes to 5 (he would not have to read the facts), turn the card over and write Fact 6 on the card and proceed. There are no facts in the film which make this impossible and it is consistent with Leonard's behavior throughout the film. Edit

  • No, it cannot be due to the nature of anterograde amnesia. Physical damage to the brain essentially can lead to the impairment in creating new memories [anterograde amnesia, which is Leonard's problem] and may even involve impairment in recalling recently-created memories [some retrograde amnesia, which does not seem to affect Leonard at all]. Psychological impairment of memory (known as "Psychogenic Amnesia") is caused by some intense emotional experience. The purpose for the loss is the mind's attempt to exclude painful or guilt-laden memories from consciousness. Memory is not really lost, but is misplaced. (This is retrograde amnesia, which again does not seem to affect Leonard.) These memories can be recalled by free association, hypnosis, and other procedures. The facts from medical literature indicate: "In psychogenic amnesia, there is no anterograde memory loss." The medical literature also indicates: "Psychogenic amnesia is characterized by an inability to recall information already stored in the patient's memory." So if we presume that Leonard has anterograde amnesia then it must be caused by physical trauma. If we presume that his problem is emotional (and not due to any physical problem) then any amnesia is retrograde: a failure to recall painful memories. But this presumption is not consistent with what we see in the film, since the entire plot of the film involves him seeking revenge since he can remember the attack and since he does seem to have memories of an insulin overdose. Edit

  • This question is never answered in the film, the supplemental material does not offer any clues, nor has Nolan ever answered it. There does seem to be hint (not a suggestion) that Leonard knows, at leas on some level, that he has already killed the 2nd attacker. If he does, it is most likely a distant recollection not a conscious memory. The hint comes from Leonard's action in setting up Teddy for what he believes is a false quest (i.e. not a quest for the 2nd attacker). To start a false quest, it seems that he must believe that the 2nd attacker is dead since we are offered no reason of why he would not abandon the real quest for the 2nd attacker. Thus it must be a very convincing belief. Therefore, Leonard must that know Teddy is not lying about Sammy being a faker, Sammy not having a wife, or that his wife was diabetic. Because if any of those things are lies, Leonard would have reason to doubt Teddy about the 2nd attacker and thus would not start a false quest. Also, Leonard must not be able to spot any indication of falsehood in Teddy saying that the 2nd attacker being dead.

    But even with all these things, Leonard would know that just because he could not spot Teddy lying, does not necessarily mean he was being truthful. So the question is would a man obsessed with vengeance, be convinced that the 2nd attacker is dead with just the word of Teddy? Given that Leonard didn't even completely believe Teddy when he was truthful about warning Leonard about Natalie makes it seem even less plausible. When told about Natalie, Leonard wrote the note in handwriting to show his future self the statement is in doubt and was written "under duress". But we see indication of any doubt or duress in Leonard's belief of Teddy. And if there is any doubt at all for Leonard, there is no reason to start a false quest. Thus we are led to believe that Leonard has no doubts that the 2nd attacker is dead. Thus in addition to knowing Teddy is truthful about the Sammy and insulin things and seeing no falsehood in statement that the 2nd attacker killed a year ago; Nolan also indicates that we should also conclude that, on some level, Leonard remembers that he killed the 2nd attacker (even if is it a distant memory, like a dream, or feeling of deja vu).

    Actually, all of this is explained in the film by two lines: "How can I heal, when I can't feel time?", and more-so toward the end of the film when Leonard asks himself, "Do I lie to myself to be happy?" Teddy even extrapolates it in the final dialogue. It's essentially trained memory except Leonard has trained himself to not believe... otherwise what purpose would his life serve? Edit

  • Some have argued that this is one of the biggest holes in the expositional theory of this film, though the "hole" stems from misunderstanding about AMD. Presuming Teddy is truthful denies one of what some see as the premise of the film: Leonard can not remember anything after the attack. This is the simple explanation of what anterograde memory dysfunction is—the inability to remember new things. One can argue with how accurately AMD has been portrayed in the movie (see below for some discussion on this), but Nolan clearly has given us the "ground rules" of his movie portrayal. For Teddy to be telling the truth, we must accept that Leonard is able to make new memories and that he can make them selectively: he only remembers what Nolan wants him (and needs him) to remember, just for the plot twist.

    Some ignore the "hole" and just presume it "somehow happened," and just explain Leonard's need to repress the memory and somehow condition himself to remember it differently. This idea not only ignores the "hole", but is inconsistent with this real condition. Conditioning does not work to create memories of new facts; these are explicit memories. Conditioning creates new implicit memories. But the perception of the "hole" is created by ignoring the real facts of this real medical condition. The creation of new memories is possible by this condition (see below). Amnesias are never absolute: "Amnesia is not an all-or-nothing condition, and even H.M., from time to time, has meagre conscious recollections of information encountered postoperatively." (See the article here.) [Note: H.M. (after his death in 2008, the need for anonymity was gone and his name was revealed to be Henry Molaison) is a "classic example" of a man with AMD. There is much online about him; google for antergorade amnesia "H.M." to get a number of hits and info. H.M.'s was a "pure case" caused by surgery and not an accident. He had epileptic seizures and the doctors believed that if they removed some of his temporal lobe (including the hippocampus), then he would no longer get them. The doctors were correct in this respect; they cured him of his seizures. He also got this condition since (it was later discovered) the hippocampus is important to the "consolidation" of memory (converting the short-term to long-term memory).]

    Nolan also suggests (provides us a clue to) this fact when he shows us a shot which may be interpreted as a memory of Leonard in a mental institute: a memory he could not have if the condition were absolute (yes, there are alternate explanations for the scene, but alternate explanations do not negate this explanation). Nolan does suggest how it is possible and why this type of memory is retained. The flash of Sammy turning into Leonard in the mental institute suggests a "projection" of Leonard's implicit recollections onto explicit Sammy memories. The anchor of the recollection is the Sammy memory.

    It is important to realize that this condition does not force Leonard to start with a clean slate. His memories are not "erased." The short-term memories are just typically not consolidated into long-term memories. However, Leonard does have experiences after the attack, and on some level bits are recalled, though maybe only subconsciously, and some relegated to show up only as "conditioning" (some probably to his surprise—when did I learn to do that?) other things only recalled as distant memories. These are the implicit, non-declarative memories. For example, in Oliver Sacks' book: The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, he has an entire chapter on a man named "Jimmy G." who got this condition (anterograde memory dysfunction) from chronic alcoholism (this is termed "Korsakoff's syndrome"). Sacks states: [Jimmie] sometimes retained faint memories, some dim echo or sense of familiarity. Thus five minutes after I had played tic-tac-toc [sic] with him, he recollected that "some doctor" had played this with him "a while back" - whether the "while back" was minutes or months ago he had no idea.   Also, this condition does allow you to learn through conditioning (as mentioned many times in the movie), but some things may "break through" that typically won't. "Jimmy G" is also discussed online and it has been reported that: Jimmy was stuck in the year 1945, it turned out. He only remembered one or two events since that year." (One was the death of his brother, which says something about the relationship of emotions and encoding.)   It appears that Nolan is suggesting that Leonard can recall his wife's death (to some extent). It seems that Leonard has a unique perspective. Before Leonard got this condition, he studied and learned about this condition-he observed a subject (Sammy) being tested. Then when he was tested for other items that are only vaguely recalled he was better able to "project/transfer" those implicit recollections onto his actual explicit (declarative) memories of Sammy. His memories of Sammy's life becomes a mixture of "just Sammy" items (Leonard's actual memories), items that (more or less) relate to both Sammy and Leonard, and items that are "wholly Leonard" that are projected onto Sammy. It even will contain some confabulations (common among people with memory problems) of items that have nothing to do with either one of them, it is just Leonard filling gaps in the story. It is a way of his mind finding an alternate method of storing these memories. Leonard is unable (due to physical damage) to put them directly into long-term memories, so the mind finds an alternate path through other sections of this brain and "projects" them onto Sammy-memories. These recollections are essentially misremembered. It is unconscious, not conscious: Leonard believes these things are true. When confronted with facts which dispute it he can realize the problem, but it can be confusing.

    This type of mechanism can be supported by the facts of this condition: Declarative memory can be created by non-declarative means "Thus, factual information, which is ordinarily learned as declarative (conscious) knowledge and with the participation of the medial temporal lobe, can be acquired as nondeclarative memory" which is a means of saying that explicit memories can be learned from implicit memories as has been hypothesized as a mechanism for what Nolan seems to be suggesting. As stated, this is enhanced by Leonard's knowledge of Sammy and his explicit memories of Sammy. It has been pointed out in the classic AMD case of H.M. that "experiments demonstrate that H.M. is capable of learning some new factual information when it can be fixed to already acquired knowledge." This paper even the suggests that this can lead to false memories due to incorrect anchoring. H.M. seems to have anchored some of the Challenger explosion (which happened after his AMD) with his memories of the Titanic disaster. Edit

  • This seems to be a misconception among many people and the question is flawed. The movie actually shows that Leonard does have memories of her being diabetic, so the real questions should be: "If Leonard's wife was diabetic why does Leonard deny it?" and "If Leonard's wife was not diabetic why does Leonard have memories of her being diabetic?" The first point is that on 3 occasions we see Leonard with memories of him preparing an insulin injection or giving her one. There are two distinct memories. In movie sequence, they are:

    (1) At 1:21:25, Leonard is alone watching the TV at Natalie's and has a memory flash of someone's hand tapping a syringe twice. It is a quick shot and we do not see who it is. It acts in the film as clue, a foreshadowing of a future truth. It is a supraliminal clue common with foreshadowing. We can see it, but tend not to notice it unless we are looking for it. When we see it, even if we would pause and review it, we still would be hard-pressed to know it is Leonard's hand. We learn it is Leonard' hand, later in the film when we are shown the more complete sequence. [This sequence, though earlier in the film, would occur long after Leonard would have forgotten what Teddy said about his wife, so it is clear indication that it does not come from just a "consideration" of what Teddy told him].

    (2) At 1:42:50, Teddy says, "The insulin..." At this point in the film (or in time), we (viewers or Leonard) have not heard any mention about Leonard's wife being diabetic, we have only heard the Sammy Story about the "the insulin". Yet after Teddy says, "The insulin..." Leonard has that same memory we saw earlier in the film of someone tapping a syringe twice, only this time we are shown that it is indeed Leonard who is tapping the syringe to move the air bubbles to the top. Leonard denies the memory we clearly see him have, claiming: "That's Sammy, not me". We are not shown any "alternate version" of this memory like we will later with the other memory.

    (3) At, 1:43:23 Teddy states, "It was your wife who had diabetes". We now see a different insulin memory than previously. It is a memory of Leonard injecting his wife's leg with insulin. Again we hear Leonard deny it: "My wife wasn't diabetic". Only this time when Teddy presses, "You sure?", we see Leonard think, and his denial is not just a lie to Teddy, but the "visualization" is essentially a lie to himself also, ignoring the memory and choosing to believe it was just a pinch and then claiming again: "She wasn't diabetic".

    If Leonard's wife were not diabetic, there is no reason that he has memories (or even just thoughts) of her being diabetic at three separate times in the film: especially when two come about with no prompting about her being diabetic. The first one seems to be most likely due to the pervasive nature of his diabetic memories. It was such a part of his life with his wife, that he is bound to, while thinking of her, have some of these memories "pop up". If his wife were not diabetic, it seems odd for him to think about preparing an insulin injection. The second comes with just a prompting of the term "insulin". Again, it seems odd for Leonard to have this memory if his wife were not diabetic. The one that comes with the direct statement of her being diabetic (#3) is the one he most actively denies and the one Nolan even suggests through the "pinching visualization" that he is trying to actively deny and ignore it. It suggests the lying to himself, which we will be shown explicitly later that he does do. So since we know he does have memories of insulin injections with his wife, we can return to what should be the real questions:

    If Leonard's wife was diabetic why does Leonard deny it? This one seems pretty clear from the film. Leonard does not want to realize that he killed his own wife. He seems to have misremembered the insulin OD as a Sammy memory and does not want to acknowledge the truth. The other question—"If Leonard's wife was not diabetic why does Leonard have memories of her being diabetic?"—is something that does not seem to have an answer in the film or even through speculation. This lack of a reason makes it seem clear to many that Nolan's intent was to make us believe that Leonard's wife was diabetic. There is no reason why Leonard would have memories of a diabetic wife if she were not diabetic.

    The question has also been raised at why we see only a small number of memories of a diabetic wife. We see only two memories on three occasions. If Leonard's wife were diabetic he would have years of memories, hundreds if not thousands of them. There is nothing to negate the possibility that Leonard has plenty of memories of his wife being diabetic. Just because we do not see every possible memory that Leonard may have of his life before the attack, does not mean he does not have the memories. The movie is edited. We do not see Leonard 24/7 and even then we do not see everything Leonard thinks about, nor do we hear constant voiceovers to explain things. Nolan indicates things and negates other things by the film. The film is a mystery, a puzzle, you must look at multiple clues to get an answer.

    We are not even seeing random snippets of Leonard's life and memories. Nolan is choosing what he presents to us. He has chosen to not show us the other memories since his goal is to surprise us. He chooses to show us memories Leonard has of his wife that do not involve diabetes and he chooses to only show us three select times when Leonard does have the memory. One is a very small segment, intended to act as foreshadowing the other, the second a more complete memory of the small segment so we understand the significance and the third a separate memory. This technique serves a dual purpose: it keeps the surprise, but also demonstrates that Leonard does indeed remember his wife being diabetic which fills any hole suggesting he does not remember something so pervasive. Nolan indicates that Leonard does remember a diabetic wife. But it should also be clear that no matter how pervasive diabetes is, Leonard will still have memories of his wife that do not involve diabetes. Nolan chooses to show us more of these memories.

    It has been suggested that the film implies that Leonard may also have retrograde amnesia. If we believe Teddy's version as the truth, then it could be interpreted that Leonard has forgotten that Sammy Jankis did not have a wife. But while it is actually common for people with anterograde amnesia to get some retrograde amnesia, it tends to block out a series of time of days to years. It would not manifest itself in being able to remember Sammy and not remember he did not have a wife. A more likely explanation is that he does "remember" Sammy having a wife due to the false memories that have been anchored to Sammy memories. Edit

  • There have been several debates about Sammy Jankis. The first of the tattoos shown in the movie is "remember Sammy Jankis". The tattoo seems to help Leonard focus on that time of his life and is part of Leonard's investigation "system". It is clear that, if we choose to believe Teddy at the end, Sammy was a real person since Teddy explicitly indicates that Sammy was a "con-man", "a faker", he did not say that "Sammy did not exist". In this scenario, Sammy is real and Leonard investigated him, but what Leonard says about Sammy is most likely a combination of real Sammy memories, items that combine elements of both Sammy and Leonard, elements of just Leonard items, and some confabulation. If we presume that Teddy is lying and not providing an exposition, it is not entirely clear. Most choose to think Teddy is lying and Leonard is telling the truth, suggesting that what Leonard says about Sammy is completely about Sammy.

    For Sammy to not to have existed at all, actually not only requires us to not believe Teddy, but also requires that Leonard is faking. Someone with this condition could not "create Sammy" after getting this condition. The film seems to indicate that Leonard is not "faking". Even if the whole story of Sammy was a confabulation by Leonard, there is no way he could keep using the same name. Even the "remember Sammy Jankis" would be a constant confusing element for Leonard. He would continually wonder things like: "Who is Sammy Jankis? I don't know a Sammy Jankis, Why am I supposed to remember him?" If Sammy does not exist, it also means that Leonard had no reason to learn about this condition before the attack from investigating Sammy. So it raises the questions of how did he learn about it after the attack or why did he forget the reason he learned about it before the attack?

    There is a sequence in the film where Sammy changes to Leonard in the mental hospital scene. It can be described as: (1) 01:29:22 [B&W Scenes] We see the "test" with Sammy and his wife hear Leonard's voiceover: "She went into a coma and never recovered. Sammy couldn't understand or explain what happened." (2) 01:29:30 We see Leonard on the phone and saying: "He's been in a home ever since." (3) 01:29:32 We see Sammy in a Home and hear voiceover: "He doesn't even know that his wife's dead." (4) 01:29:36 Leonard on phone: "I was wrong about Sammy, and I was wrong about his wife. She wasn't interested in the money. She just needed to understand his problem." (5) 01:29:43 Sammy in Home, Leonard voiceover: "His brain didn't respond to conditioning. But he wasn't a con man." (6) 01:29:47 Sammy in Home, Leonard voiceover: "And when she looked into his eyes, she thought he could be the same person." (7) 01:29:50 Sammy in Home, person walking behind Sammy, Leonard voiceover: "When I looked into his eyes, I thought I saw recognition." (8) 01:29:53 Leonard on phone: "Now I know. You fake it. If you're supposed to recognize somebody, you just pretend to." (9) 01:29:58 Sammy in Home, person in front, Leonard in Home, Leonard voiceover: "You bluff it to get a pat on the head from the doctors." (10) 01:30:01 Leonard on phone: "You bluff it to seem less of a freak." (11) 01:30:07 Leonard on phone: "What drug dealer?" (12) 01:30:09 [Color Scene] Jaguar tires screeching in front of Emma's

      This sequence seems to be either a suggestion that Leonard has projected some of his recollections onto Sammy (Teddy is truthful) or just a scene indicating how Leonard "associates" himself with Sammy's condition (Teddy is lying). There seems to be nothing to indicate a suggestion that they are the same person since if Teddy is lying we don't believe the Leonard's wife being diabetic and if Teddy is truthful, then Sammy is a faker with no wife and Leonard has a diabetic wife. For Sammy to be a faker, Teddy must be lying and also that Leonard's story can not be believed. This scene seems most likely to reflect a visual clue by Nolan as how Leonard may even "project" and "misremember" implicit recollections as explicit Sammy memories. The movie seems to suggest that the "Sammy story" that Leonard tells is a mixture of real Sammy memories from Leonard, recollections of Leonard about things that happened to him as well as Sammy, projections of things that happened to Leonard but did not happen to Sammy and even some confabulation (common among people with memory problems) of things that Leonard makes up to fill in the gaps. Edit

  • There is a scene in the final part that Leonard is lying alongside his wife, with a tattoo of "I've Done It" on the chest. Based on the entire film, the scene does not appear to be a "flashback" at all since the scene shows a tattoo "I've Done It" which he does not have at all in the film and in addition there is no sign that the tattoo was removed (and we do see a closeup of his chest). Since it is not a flashback, and it appears to be something in his mind that he is thinking about, it appears to be a fantasy/daydream/wish. It seems most likely that Leonard is driving and is looking for a tattoo parlor to tattoo fact 6, which he at this point believes is the license plate of the second attacker. He believes that he is close to finishing his quest, and he daydreams an (ironic) fantasy: his quest fulfilled and his wife still alive. It is probably meant to be ironic, since without her death there would have been no quest. It is even hinted by the film that she could have been still alive if he had shown the drive that he shows with the quest while she was alive. It is possible that the image is a clairvoyant vision of the future, but we see no indication that Leonard has any prescient visions elsewhere in the film, so this does not seem reasonable.

    It has been suggested that the scene could be not a vision in Leonard's mind at all but just a "future scene" (a flash-forward). This does not seem likely unless Nolan or Dody Dorn made a huge mistake. If it were a future scene, then the scene should come before we see Teddy shot and there should be a black and white scene after it that takes place before the second scene in the film. There should also be an "overlapping" segment at the beginning of it that matches the end of the Teddy being shot sequence (and in all likelihood, the Teddy being shot should not be in reverse, but that would just be another error made). Supporting that it is meant to come from Leonard's mind and is not a shot mistakenly put here, is the foreshadowing of the shot several times earlier in the sequence, when we get short glimpses of the scene. [In support of the "daydream" interpretation is that, when the movie is watched in "Chrono-order" on the DVD, this scene still is shown in this location, it is not placed after Teddy is shot at the end of the chronological events version.] Edit

  • There is no significance explicitly given in the film of why there are so many different font styles and typefaces. They also vary in size, some are all lowercase, some all upper case, some upside down, some mirror images, some in script, some not. They also vary in content: some are facts Leonard uses to track the second attacker, others are just reminders about his condition, still others are general reminders of things he was aware of before the attack. The various styles most likely reflect a suggestion of different tattoo artists and possibly their own preferences. There has been some speculation on some meaning of "remember Sammy Jankis" being in a script face when the film shows Leonard using a different handwriting style for notes he questions. But the "remember Sammy Jankis" tattoo while in script is not handwriting, and the style is used in another tattoo as well "buy film" and would serve no purpose to have this questioned. Edit

  • "John G" is part of the name of one of the men that attacked Leonard and his wife. According to Teddy, they were a "Couple of junkies too strung out to realize your [Leonard's] wife didn't live alone." The name "John G" came about before the events in the movie. Nothing is explicitly given in the movie to indicate how he got the name. There is also nothing in the info on website or supplemental DVD material which could be lead to that name (it does indicate he had it while he was in the mental institution). Most probably, it came about by the police files or his own and Teddy's investigation on the attack. [If we believe that the supplemental material on the website online and on some of the DVDs is "canon" then it appears he was convinced of the name before he escaped the mental institute. A doctor's report indicates: "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."]

    It is possible though not too probable that it was "created" by Leonard (or even Teddy, though it would be a little stupid for Teddy to give his own name as that of the rapist and eventually murderer they are looking for). This makes Teddy out to be a complete idiot. It is also possible that, at some point in the past, Leonard already got mad enough at Teddy to write down a part of his (real) name to later persuade himself that it was the name of the killer, just like he did with the license plate number in the film. This seem unlikely since again it makes Teddy out to be an idiot, since he would seem unaware to the fact that while he was feeding Leonard info, Leonard was coming up with his own clues which were pointing to Teddy. Edit

  • Natalie's attitude to Leonard changes throughout the story: 1. She sees him wearing her boyfriend's clothes driving her boyfriend's car so she suspects him to have killed Jimmy. 2. After the "test" in the bar she believes that Leonard is not responsible since he cannot remember anything anyway and decides to use Leonard and his condition to get rid of Dodd (who is after the money that is now actually safely in Leonard's possession) so she tries to (unsuccessfully) manipulate Leonard into killing Dodd. 3. Eventually she takes pity on Leonard and wants to help him find the person responsible for his condition - by providing information on the license plate number he had tattooed on his leg. Edit

  • In some cases it is clear that Leonard is talking to the front desk (and at least one time it is Burt since Leonard says "Burt" as if the man on the phone indicated his name). The other times it is most likely Teddy; early in the film Leonard tells Burt to hold all his calls except Teddy's as an exception. Thus it appears to be Teddy who is telling Leonard that Jimmy Grantz is the second attacker on the phone. Teddy does admit to doing this at the end of the film as well, supporting the conjecture that Teddy is on the phone. Edit

  • Leonard may not have an earlier picture of Teddy, for a variety of reasons. It is not explicitly given, but here are some thoughts: (1) Teddy may be lying at the end of the film and they may have just first met in the lobby of the Discount Inn. Leonard would have no picture of Teddy since they never met. (2) Leonard may have destroyed it for some reason (we see Leonard destroy evidence near the end of the film). The reason(s) would be subject to anyone's speculation, since nothing is explicitly given in the film about it. (3) Teddy may have stolen it for some reason to make it seem like they just met. Again, the reason(s) would be subject to anyone's speculation, since nothing is explicitly given in the film about it. (4) Leonard may have lost it. The movie shows how easy it is for Leonard to lose and forget things: he almost forgot the driver's license information at the cafe. (5) Leonard could have already had a picture of someone labeled "Teddy" but since he was meeting someone named "Officer Gammell" he did not realize that the man he was meeting was "Teddy". When he looked through his "archived photos", he found none labeled "Gammell" (though could have seen one or more of "Teddy") and by the time he met "Gammell" in the lobby, he no longer remembered the photo and when he took the picture, he no longer remembered that he had seen one of "Teddy". Edit

  • If we do not believe Teddy's exposition, we don't know who may have setup Jimmy since we are never shown who is on the phone and Teddy admits to doing it. Some believe that Teddy is lying and character on the phone may never be shown in the film or could be Dodd, Natalie, or always Burt and one of them setup Jimmy for a reason not disclosed in the film. If we believe Teddy in the exposition, it is quite obvious since Teddy he admits to doing it.

    Why? In the conventional interpretation—that takes it that Teddy is speaking the truth in the key scene—Teddy has been trying to help Leonard get vengeance. After they successfully tracked the second attacker and Leonard killed him, Teddy realized that the memory did not stick. Still wanting to see Leonard happy and hoping that he could convince him through repeatedly indicating the truth, he continued to help Leonard hunt for a man he already killed. After a year of hunting the same man, Teddy decided to find another victim (it is not stated in the movie what triggered this new killing). Teddy decides to setup a Jimmy Grantz. He has a near match in the name, is a drug dealer so he is not completely innocent of crime, and they can also make some money. But while there is motivation for money, possible motivation to kill drug dealers, the movie is relatively explicit: Teddy is trying to (and does succeed) to convince Leonard the quest is done. But we see that even though convinced, Leonard chooses to continue.The movie indicates that his motivation for doing this was to try and convince Leonard that the quest was done.

    If Teddy's goal were to get Leonard to continue, there was no reason for Teddy to lie to Leonard and try to convince him that dead Jimmy was the second attacker. Teddy lied and tried to convince Leonard even knowing that, at that time, Leonard did not believe that dead Jimmy was the second attacker. If Teddy's goal were to convince Leonard to continue (instead of stopping) he could have told Leonard the truth: Jimmy was not the second attacker, but that someone (he would not have to say who) used Leonard to kill the wrong man. All Teddy needed to do as tell the truth, tell Leonard he will fix things us and agree to meet Leonard later. This has the advantage of being true, Leonard already believes or suspects it, and it not only gets Leonard to leave so he can get the money, but it then allows Teddy to start setting up the next person. But Teddy does not try to convince Leonard that the quest is incomplete. He lies to convince Leonard that the quest is done. And when that doesn't work, he admits that Jimmy was not the second attacker and then tries (and succeeds!) in convincing Leonard that the second attacker was killed a year ago. So here we are shown at the end of the film Teddy trying twice to convince Leonard that that the second attacker is dead and the quest is complete. And when Teddy succeeds in convincing Leonard, we are shown that Leonard is the one who consciously chooses to continue a hunt he is convinced is completed. Edit

  • Both of these pieces of information are stored on the note Leonard has about Dodd:

    DODD White guy, 6′2″, blonde MonteRest Inn on 5th St Room 6 Put him onto Teddy OR just get RID OF him foR NAtAlie 919 BOOTH ST. Edit

  • The most likely reason suggested by the film is that Leonard removed the pages that would indicate things he does not want to believe, like things that (1) would remind him that it was he to have killed his wife, and (2) would be too specific about who John G is. This is supported by the fact that we are explicitly shown that Leonard destroys evidence (presumably of things he does not want to believe). We also see that Leonard is shown to choose to continue his quest (after he believes it is completed) and it is suggested that the quest is the only thing that gives sense and purpose to his existence. It is also possible that the someone else removed the pages for unknown reasons or that he got them incomplete though other than Leonard's speculation about this (with no data) there is no other suggestion of this in the film. Edit

  • Burt says that he told his boss about Leonard's condition, and the manager told him to try and rent him another room. The first room is room 21, where Leonard stays during the black&white sequence of the movie. When Teddy is hiding in the Jaguar outside Natalie's house he tells Leonard to go to a motel, and recommends the Discount Inn. (This is though a bit confusing, as he already has met Leonard there and knows he already has a room there. When Leonard and Teddy leave, Leonard does not check out.) When Leonard takes his advice and goes to this motel, Burt seizes the chance to do as his boss asked him and rents him room 304. Edit

  • By freezing it, the first part can be seen. The screen shows (Note that the "41 AD" is actually between the lines as a annotation, not part of the actual sentence)

    Chapter One Two years have gone by since I finished writing the long story of how I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germani- cus, the cripple, the stammerer, the fool of the family, whom none of his ambitious and bloody-minded relatives consid- ered worth the trouble of executing, poisoning, forcing to suicide, banishing to a desert island or starving to death which was how they one by one got rid of each other how I survived them all, even my insane nephew Gaius Caligula, and was one day unexpectedly acclaimed Emperor 41 A.D. by the corporals and sergeants of the Palace Guard.

    It is the opening of the 1935 book by Robert Graves (1895-1985), Claudius the God and his Wife Messalina. For more information about the book, go to Amazon, select "Books" on the "search" list and enter the ISBN code 0679725733 in the search box. Members of Amazon can read the first page of the book. This is a sequel to Graves' book, I, Claudius. It creates an interesting parallel with the story in the movie, which is also told/narrated by the protagonist, who has a (mental) handicap. This causes others to perceive him as weird, crazy and harmless, and they even abuse him for their own benefit. But nobody realizes that the pathetic protagonist is actually very bright and resourceful. In the end, he comes out victorious over many others, who are either dead or lost, proving that he is the better man despite his limitations. Edit

  • According to the Internet Movie Firearm Database, Leonard Shelby's gun was a Beretta Cougar Inox with white grips. Dodd's gun was a Smith & Wesson either model 3913 or model 4516. Teddy's revolver was a Smith & Wesson Model 19 Snubnose. Edit

  • The reason is never explicitly given. The most Leonard says on the subject is: "I'd rather be mistaken for a dead guy than a killer." Speculations include (you can make up your own motives as well)... (1)The clothes and car are so much nicer than his. If you are willing to kill someone: stealing is not really a "crime". Why not take the nicer objects? (2) It could be part of his "routine": Kill a man, take his clothes and car. The clothes he had on and the truck may be from the man he killed a year ago. (3) It could be that he wants to make the killer of his wife suffer even more, and takes his clothes as a way of humiliating him. Leonard takes the man's life—his clothes and car, which are wrapped up in his identity—just as the man took his. This idea seems to work with a theme in Memento about "Identity" (especially mistaken identity). Natalie thinks Leonard is Jimmy, then thinks he is Teddy, then learns he is Leonard. Teddy is "mistaken" for the 2nd killer, Jimmy is "mistaken" for the 2nd killer. Sammy's story as a part of Leonard's story, etc. (4) It could "simply" be explained as a "plot device": Leonard has to do it, otherwise he won't find the note in "his pocket" and meet Natalie. (5) Leonard doesn't want to admit he's a murderer. He's lying to himself. If he's the victim, then he cannot be the murderer. Edit

  • It is very possible that this is just a goof in the movie because at first it appears to some that we see Dodd's SUV block the Jaguar and afterwards, it seems to have moved forward so that it is no longer blocking it. [It seems to do this during the time that Dodd's SUV "inexplicably" turns into a truck and then turns back into the SUV, which is clearly a "goof".] But it could also just be a misperception that the Jaguar is actually blocked in by Dodd. There does seem to be enough room for Leonard and the Jaguar to escape and the misperception is just due to camera angles and editing. If it is not a goof, the sequence of events when looked overhead (L is Leonard's car, D is Dodd's vehicle, B is the Building) could be diagrammed as below:







    (7) BB BB BB DDD BBBBB LL Edit

  • This question is never explicitly answered in the film, nor is there really any suggestion as to where it got to. It would appear that Nolan did not consider this a very important detail in his overall narrative of the film, but we may speculate. There are several possibilities that come to mind. (1) At the end of the story it could very well still be in the trunk ready for Leonard to rediscover it and wonder where it came from. (2) Leonard could have during the course of the film already added it to whatever stash of money he has been using for expenses. (3) Teddy could have broken into the car and taken it at some time during the film. (4) It is even possible that Natalie could have used a spare key (it is not unlikely that a couple living together would each have a key to the vehicles), found the money and taken it. Edit

  • These types of questions come up periodically and any answer would have to be speculative since nothing explicit is given in the film and there is also very few implicit indicators. We know at one point, if Jimmy is not lying, that there was $200,000 in the trunk of the Jaguar. We see some of this money but can't verify the truth of what Jimmy said nor do we know what happened to it. At the end of the story is it still in the trunk? Did Leonard add it to whatever stash he has? Did Teddy take it? Did Natalie take it?

    We just don't know, Nolan gives us no indication. He seems to have chosen to concentrate on the killings and less on these mundane aspects of his day-to-day existence. We also see Leonard only spend $40 in the entire timeframe of the movie (about 3 days) even though there are times when he would have spent money (pay the escort, pay Emma for the tattoo, etc). We do not even really get any indication of how he keeps track of money. He could have cleaned out any savings or checking account for the cash. We have no indication how much he may have had. He could even have gotten some from the second attacker a year ago. There is nothing to dispute this (though there is nothing to dispute other possibilities). We can speculate that he most likely uses cash, since he knows cops could trace checks, credit and debit cards. And there is nothing in the film to dispute this, either. And as for keeping track of his expenses, if we presume that it would make sense that he would have developed a system, we can presume he has a system and nothing disputes this either. One edited exchange does not show or dispute a system. We don't see Leonard take the money out of his wallet, nor do we see whether he made note of spending the money. Since we see no other transactions, we really have nothing to go on. We could presume that he has no method at all for keeping track of finances, and while there is nothing explicit to refute this, it seems to go against Leonard's character. Leonard seems to be intelligent enough to realize that he would need a financial system, so he most likely created one.

    Other than the $40 Leonard gave to Burt there are two other times finances are discussed. One time is when Teddy asks Leonard where he got the car and suit from. Leonard says that he has money. Teddy asks him from where, and it is seems clear that Leonard has no idea and he presumes it is from his wife's life insurance. It is clear that Leonard does not really know (and he shouldn't) since this came after he got this condition. Without looking at any notes he may have on the subject, Leonard would have no idea where his money came from. So this exchange gives no info on where or how much or anything, since Leonard does not look, and Teddy does not say.

    The other exchange about finances is when Burt tells him to always get receipts. This seems clearly to be a joke (he smiles before saying it), and not advice, since Burt just said he has been ripping Leonard off. Leonard seems to take it as a joke with his sarcastic response of having to write it down. The exchange comes across that Leonard is probably always asking Burt for a receipt and Burt does anything in his power to distract him to forget about it. Burt seems so fascinated with Leonard's condition: always telling Leonard his name, acting like they have never met, so Leonard will explain it to him again. While the scene could indicate real advice from Burt, it would seem to indicate that Leonard is stupid and forgotten anything he knew about managing money that he may learned before the attack. This seems unlikely with this condition: Leonard would not lose his intelligence nor forget basic things he learned before. These facts make this presumption inconsistent with the film. Edit

  • Christopher Nolan in one of the commentary tracks for the film comments on Teddy's license plate:This car license number "SG13 7IU", that's actually the zipcode of the school I attended. I just put it in there because, as I was writing the script, I just grasped at a familiar number. And then later kind of liked the idea that maybe there would be someone out there that would be watching the film, back in England, and it would just seem familiar to them even though they had no idea that they were in any way connected with the people who made this film. And sure enough, since the film's come out, I've got quite a few sort of phone calls and emails from random people who attended the same school who were very surprised by that.What Nolan says is not completely accurate, however. The postcode for the school he attended, Haileybury in Hertford, is SG13 7NU. Teddy's license plate, SG13 7IU, is actually an invalid English postcode. The "postcode area" of SG is for Stevenage and the District "SG13" (as well as "SG14") is for Hertford. The postcode sector "7" does exist, but the postcode unit "IU" is invalid.The "Inward code" (7IU) while it has the correct form (a number followed by 2 letters) is invalid since it contains the letter "I" and the inward code never uses the letters C, I, K, M, O, or V. Edit

  • The character of Teddy indicates in the film: "It's beer o'clock and I'm buying." Beer o'clock is about 5 P.M. (or near 4:20 P.M.), essentially the end of the normal workday. It is not known when the term was coined, but Time magazine in an article about novelist Stephen King ("King of Horror" by Stefan Kanfer, Monday, Oct. 06, 1986) indicated about him: With a few breaks, he will type until what he calls "beer o'clock" -- about 5 p.m. Colloquially, the term "beer o'clock" can also be interpreted to refer more to a state-of-mind than an actual time of day. "Beer o'clock" can be any time one decides to "pack it in" and end one's workday—possibly earlier than the "typical" time of 5 o'clock due to an unusual level of stress (or laziness)—and head out for a relaxing beverage. Edit

  • Anterograde amnesia is a real condition. It is actually the most common type of amnesia known. While many film portrayals are inaccurate, Memento has been mentioned as being accurate. Caltech neuroscientist Christof Koch called Memento "the most accurate portrayal of the different memory systems in the popular media," [Koch, Christof (2004). The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach. Roberts and Company Publishers, p 196. ISBN 0974707708. Physician Esther M. Sternberg, Director of the Integrative Neural Immune Program at the National Institute of Mental Health identified the film as "close to a perfect exploration of the neurobiology of memory." Writing in the journal Science, Sternberg concludes:

    This thought-provoking thriller is the kind of movie that keeps reverberating in the viewer's mind, and each iteration makes one examine preconceived notions in a different light. Memento is a movie for anyone interested in the workings of memory and, indeed, in what it is that makes our own reality.

    [Sternberg, E.M (June 1st, 2001). "Piecing Together a Puzzling World: Memento". Science 292 (5522): 1661-1662]

      Clinical neuropsychologist, Sallie Baxendale, writes in "Memories aren't made of this: amnesia at the movies": The overwhelming majority of amnesic characters in films bear little relation to any neurological or psychiatric realities of memory loss. However, three films deserve special consideration ... 'Memento' (2000) also deserves a special mention. Apparently inspired partly by the neuropsychological studies of the famous patient HM (who developed severe anterograde memory impairment after neurosurgery to control his epileptic seizures) and the temporal lobe amnesic syndrome, the film documents the difficulties faced by Leonard, who develops a severe anterograde amnesia after an attack in which his wife is killed. Unlike in most films in this genre, this amnesic character retains his identity, has little retrograde amnesia, and shows several of the severe everyday memory difficulties associated with the disorder. The fragmented, almost mosaic quality to the sequence of scenes in the film also cleverly reflects the "perpetual present" nature of the syndrome. In addition to Memento, Finding Nemo (2003) and Sé quién eres (2000) are the other two films Baxendale indicates are worth "special mention".

    A real life case of someone with this condition is Clive Wearing. A documentary on Clive is The Man with the 7 Second Memory (2005) if anyone is interested in films about this condition. YouTube also has a couple of additional documentaries: The Mind, 2nd editon, "Life Without Memory: The Case of Clive Wearing" (1999) (Part 1a and Part 1b) and The Mind, 2nd edition, "The Clive Wearing Story, Part 2: Living Without memory" (Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 2c, and Part 2d). Clive's is much, much more severe than Leonard's (or most cases). Neuropsychologist, Dr. Barbara A. Wilson, OBE (Medical Research Center. Cambridge. England) has evaluated him on 15 occasions since 1985 (according to the documentary). Well, I think Clive Wearing is unique. I've never known another person so amnesiac as Clive. And I've probably seen about 700 brain injured people, most of them with memory impairment. He's definitely the most amnesiac person I've known...And even if he sees his own writing in his diaries or video tapes of himself, he acknowledges that its him on the video or him conducting or him writing, his handwriting, but says he wasn't conscious then. And the fact that he must have been conscious to have written or conducted, he won't accept it. Now that, I've never seen that in any other amnesiac people, even people with a very dense amnesia. They don't say "I wasn't awake then" or "I wasn't conscious then", so I feel that aspect of it is more than the memory impairment.   There are also several case studies in Oliver Sack's book: The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. A good one is a chapter on a man named "Jimmy G." who got it from chronic alcoholism (this is termed "Korsakoff's syndrome").

    The "classic example" is a case study of a man called "H.M." or "Henry M." [after his death in 2008, the need for anonymity was gone and his name was revealed to be Henry Molaison].There is much online about him, google on anterograde amnesia "H.M." to get a number of hits and information. H.M.'s was a "pure case" caused by surgery and not an accident. He had epileptic seizures and the doctors believed that if they removed some of his temporal lobe (including the hippocampus), then he would no longer get them. The doctors were correct: they cured him of his seizures! He also got this condition since (it was later discovered) that the hippocampus is important to the "consolidation" of memory (converting the short-term to long-term memory). Philip J. Hilts, published in 1995 by Simon & Schuster, wrote a biography of H.M. called "Memory's Ghost: The Strange Tale of Mr. M. and the Nature of Memory" which has some interesting comments about this condition, several passages of them relating strongly to things Leonard does in the film suggesting that Nolan must have done some "homework". Edit

  • Leonard makes a statement in the film that he can not create new memories. Some take this as literal truth of something we must believe and others have claimed it is a flaw on Nolan's part of the reality of this condition. The simplest explanation is that it is a "simplification" and an imprecision in what Leonard states. Most people do not nit-pick everything they say. [This is akin to Leonard saying he does not have "amnesia". He is simplifying for Burt: he means that he does not have "retrograde amnesia", which is what most people think of when they hear the term "amnesia". In reality, Leonard does have amnesia. Leonard has anterograde amnesia.] The movie clearly indicates that Leonard can create new procedural memories via habit and routine. In fact with this condition, implicit memory creation (procedural memories are only one type of implicit memory) is not affected at all, since it occurs through other parts of the brain. Therefore people with this condition are able to create new memories: implicit memory creation is completely unaffected.

    The implication about this statement is not so much about the implicit memory creation that the movie discusses, but about the explicit memory creation. This condition causes an impairment in the ability of someone to create new explicit memories. But even this impairment is not absolute. Even some new explicit memories may be created: "Amnesia is not an all-or-nothing condition, and even H.M., from time to time, has meagre conscious recollections of information encountered postoperatively". H.M.'s was a "pure case" caused by surgery and not an accident. He had epileptic seizures and the doctors believed that if they removed some of his temporal lobe (including the hippocampus), then he would no longer get them. The doctors were correct: they cured him of his seizures! He also got this condition since (it was later discovered) that the hippocampus (more generally the MTL: media temporal lobe) is important to the "consolidation" of memory (converting the short-term to long-term memory).

    Nolan also suggests (provides us a clue to) this fact when he shows us a shot which may be interpreted of a memory of Leonard in a mental institute: a memory he could not have if the condition were absolute. It appears that Nolan does suggest how it is possible and why this type of memory is retained. The flash of Sammy turning into Leonard in the mental institute suggests to many a "projection" of Leonard recollections onto Sammy memories. The anchor of the recollection is the Sammy memory. It is important to realize, that this condition does not force Leonard to start with a "clean state". His memories are not "erased". The short term memories are just typically not consolidated into long-term memories. But, Leonard does have experiences after the attack and "on some level" bits are recalled: though maybe only subconsciously, and some relegated to show up only as "conditioning" (some probably to his surprise—when did I learn to do that?) other things only "recalled" as only distant memories. These are the implicit, non-declarative memories.

    For example, in Oliver Sacks' book: The Man who Mistook his wife for a Hat, he has an entire chapter on a man named "Jimmy G." who got this condition (anterograde memory dysfunction) from chronic alcoholism (this is termed "Korsakoff's syndrome"). Sacks states: [Jimmie] sometimes retained faint memories, some dim echo or sense of familiarity. Thus five minutes after I had played tic-tac-toc [sic] with him, he recollected that "some doctor" had played this with him "a while back" - whether the "while back" was minutes or months ago he had no idea   Also, this condition does allow you to learn thru conditioning (as mentioned many times in the movie), but some things may "break thru" that "typically won't". "Jimmy G" is also discussed online: Jimmy was stuck in the year 1945, it turned out. He only remembered one or two events since that year. (One was the death of his brother, which says something about the relationship of emotions and encoding.)   Studies on people with this condition have concluded: "factual information, which is ordinarily learned as declarative (conscious) knowledge and with the participation of the medial temporal lobe, can be acquired as nondeclarative memory" which is a means of saying that explicit memories can be learned from implicit memories as has been hypothesized as a mechanism for what Nolan appears to have suggested. As stated this is enhanced by Leonard's knowledge of Sammy and his explicit memories of Sammy. It has been pointed out in the classic AMD case of H.M. that "experiments demonstrate that H.M. is capable of learning some new factual information when it can be fixed to already acquired knowledge." This paper even the suggests that this can lead to false memories due to incorrect anchoring. H.M. seems to have anchored some of the Challenger explosion (which happened after his AMD) with his memories of the Titanic disaster. This type of misrembering seems to also be suggested in the film especially in the sequence of Sammy in a mental institute that turns into Leonard as someone's nurse walks by. Edit

  • Periodically people request similar films to Memento. IMDB has a system[/link] to find recommendations on similar films.

    To do it "manually" the first thing to define is what is similar:

    Same director (Christopher Nolan): Inception (2010); The Dark Knight (2008); The Prestige (2006); Batman Begins (2005); Insomnia (2002); Following (1998); Doodlebug (1997)

    Revenge films: Batman (1989); C'era una volta il West (1968); The Count of Monte Cristo (1934); Death Wish (1974); Gladiator (2000); High Plains Drifter (1973); Irréversible (2002); Jungfrukällan (1960); Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003); Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004); Payback (1999); Revenge (1990); Walking Tall (1973)

    Modern film noir: Alien (1979); Angel Heart (1987); Blade Runner (1982); Blood Simple (1984); Blue Velvet (1986); Body Heat (1981); Brick (2005); Chinatown (1974); Dark City (1998); Gattaca (1997); The Grifters (1990); Johnny Mnemonic (1995); L.A. Confidential (1997); The Matrix (1999); Minority Report (2002); Mulholland Dr. (2001); Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984); Night Moves (1975); Outland (1981); RoboCop (1987); Sin City (2005); Strange Days (1995); The Terminator (1984); Total Recall (1990); The Usual Suspects (1995); Virtuosity (1995)

    Suspense: Some Great ones from Alfred Hitchcock: The 39 Steps (1935); The Birds (1963); Dial M for Murder (1954); To Catch a Thief (1955); The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956); North by Northwest (1959); Notorious (1946); Psycho (1960); Rear Window (1954); Rebecca (1940); Strangers on a Train (1951); Vertigo (1958);

    You can also check out AFI's 100 Greatest Thrillers.

    Film narrative structure: Bakha satang (1999); Betrayal (1983); 5x2 (2004); Irréversible (2002); The Salton Sea (2002)

    Parallel timelines: The Fountain (2006); The Godfather: Part II (1974); The Limey (1999)

    Non-linear films: Quentin Tarantino seems very fond of the non-linear narrative and uses it frequently: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003); Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004); Pulp Fiction (1994); and Reservoir Dogs (1992) are good examples. Another director making non-linear films is Alejandro G. Iñárritu; famous examples are Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003) and Babel (2006).

    Twists at end: Citizen Kane (1941); Fallen (1998); Fight Club (2004); Lucky Number Slevin (2006); The Machinist (2004); Primal Fear (1996); Psycho (1960); Saw (2004); The Sixth Sense (1999); The Usual Suspects (1995); Unbreakable (2000); The Village (2004)

    Similar memory conditions: Clean Slate (1994); Finding Nemo (2003); 50 First Dates (2004); Masters of Science Fiction episode "A Clean Escape"; Remember Sunday (2013); Winterschläfer (1997)

    Documentaries on Clive Wearing: The Man with the 7 Second Memory (2005) which is nice documentary if anyone is interested in films about this condition.

    YouTube also has a couple of additional documentaries: The Mind, 2nd edition, "Life Without Memory: The Case of Clive Wearing" (1999) (Part 1a and Part 1b) and The Mind, 2nd edition, "The Clive Wearing Story, Part 2: Living Without memory" (Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 2c, and Part 2d). Edit

  • The Blu-ray edition of Memento was released in August 15th, 2006. It is reviewed here, and it contains the following features: (1) HD video in 1080p resolution, (2) PCM 5.1 Audio, (3) Director's Commentary by Christopher Nolan, and (4) Featurette: Anatomy of a Scene. A newly remastered (transfer approved by Christopher Nolan) Blu-ray Edition of Memento was released on February 22nd, 2011. It is reviewed here. Edit

  • The Region 1 US single-disc: Website; IFC interview with Christopher Nolan; Tattoo gallery; Short story "Memento Mori" by Jonathan Nolan; US trailer; Bios of the actors [Note: this DVD does not have the "Chronological edit" of the film nor are the chapters setup to do it conveniently by manually selecting the chapters]

    The Region 1 US 2-disc Limited Edition: Menu system that is a puzzle in itself; Audio commentary by director Christopher Nolan with different endings; "Anatomy of a Scene" featurette; Director's script; International poster art gallery; Short story "Memento Mori" by Johnathan Nolan; Stills/production sketches gallery; Trailers (US and international). Unadvertised features: "Chronological edit" of film; Bootleg cover art; Concept art gallery; Journal; Props gallery. Region 2 UK 3-disc: Audio commentary by director Christopher Nolan with different endings; Interview with director Christopher Nolan; Interview with star Guy Pierce; Cast and crew Biographies; "Anatomy of a Scene" documentary; Easter egg—reversed version of the film; Shooting script split screen; Reading of the short story "Memento Mori"; Production stills and sketches gallery; Props gallery; International poster art gallery; Concept art and bootleg cover art gallery; Leonard's Journal; International theatrical trailer. Edit

  • The outerpack of the DVD case is light blue cardboard and made to look like a "file folder". In the original packaging there is a sheet of paper glued to the back. It contains a picture of Guy Pearce as "Leonard Shelby" and the contents of the 2 discs and credits, etc (like the info on the back of most DVDs). This can be easily removed as it is only stuck with a glob of glue in the center so may easily be missing. The DVD case proper slides out from the cardboard case and has a plastic paperclip on it (there are various colors). This may be easily lost. The cover of the DVD case has "Psychiatric Report", and is a flipcase. The cover is opened to the left and the right side has a yellow Post-it note with the word "Watch" and a drawing of an open book (again something easily lost). The flipcase is then open upwards and the top section contains Disc 1 and the bottom section contains Disc 2. On top of Disc 2, there are several loose pieces of paper keeping with the "psych folder" theme (This theme is also is carried onto the discs and menus of the DVD). They are (in no particular order): (1) A "Police Department" sheet with the main title screen from Disc 1, with "Watch" circled and note on how to "Play Movie", (2) a filled in formsheet for marking the "Condition of Admission" including drawings of front/back male for marking injuries, (3) a blank "Mental Health Battery" "Answer Sheet", and (4) a blank sheet with lines "Al Summary and Diagno" / "Recommendation" and a place for "Physician's Signature". Edit

  • How to watch the movie in chronological order. For most versions see the IMDb link to "Alternate Versions"

    For the R2UK 3-disc edition, an online review of this DVD indicates:

    "When you pop the second disc in, you'll be presented with a very sparse selection of extras, which should clue you in immediately to the fact that there is something else rather large hidden on this DVD. Nor would you be wrong; if you move the selection line down to the bottommost option, "Biographies", and then press that ever-useful right arrow button, you'll be taken to the chronological version of Memento, and in glorious Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 to boot!"

    Note: The US single-disc version does not have this feature.

    What is the story with the different commentaries? The Region 1 US 2-disc Limited Edition has four different endings to the commentary track. (This seems to also be the same for the R2UK 3-disc edition, though it is not confirmed). You must have comments on, via "COMMENTS" from main screen, and do not change the audio (LISTEN on main screen) when you make the transition right after Chapter 13 to get the alternate commentaries. You can display the current title/chapter to know which one you are on. The film is "Title 1" on the disc. At the end of Chapter 13 in this title (at ca 1:33:50 mark), the commentary/film will branch if you're listening to the commentary track (soundtrack #4) at that moment. If you have changed the audio settings to listen to the other soundtracks (DD 5.1, DD 2.0 or DTS 5.1), your commentary will not "branch" and you will continue to Chapter 14 of Title 1. If you turn the commentary on after this branch point you will also stay in Title 1. This commentary track after chapter 13 plays normally until ca the 1:37:15 mark, when it will slow down and then reverse and run backwards and pretty much sound like gibberish. If you are listening to the commentary track as you cross the 1:33:50 mark, your player will randomly switch to title 2, 3 or 4, and it will stay with that one branch every time you go over the branch point until you eject and reload the disc. Then you can go to COMMENTS (to put on the comments) from the main menu, then CHAPTERS from the main menu, choose chapter 13, fast-forward to near the end and let it play through the transition. Check the title-number to see what commentary you're listening to, and if it is one you've heard, stop, eject and try again!

    Each of these titles contains the final three chapters of the film encoded with a different version of the commentary (ca the last 20 minutes, otherwise they are pretty much the same. Title 2 is the title 1 commentary without the reverse and backwards playing. It is like the rest of the commentary and deals with movie making and is pretty generic. Title 3 states the Teddy is lying at the "movie's end" and gives the reasons. Title 4 states that Teddy is being truthful at the "movie's end" and gives the reasons.

    How to navigate the R1US 2-disc Limited Edition. A "printable" DVD navigation guide is archived here. Disc 1 has these features: (1) turn on/off subtitle, (2) change audio options, (3) play the movie, (4) select scenes, (5) turn on commentary—by selecting the appropriate menu item. There is a different one in each column that gets to an item and if you read the actual words, it is relatively obvious (i.e. WATCH in column 3 is to play the movie). The second disc has all the other goodies. It is set up like a psych exam: the main menu is the center of wheel and each of the answers moves you out from the center along "spokes". The cards with only opinions (along the spokes) do not affect where you go. When you get to a card with a "puzzle", answering the puzzle correctly gets you a "special feature". The puzzle with the tire changing pictures has 2 "correct" answers: the "correct answer" and the "anti-correct" (the answer in reverse), each will lead to a different feature. If you answer a puzzle incorrectly, you move off a spoke, heading around in a circle to a different spoke. The answers on this circle "between spokes" are opinion questions. The ones on the left take you "counter-clockwise" the ones on the right take you "clockwise" towards the next spoke. The puzzles are not difficult, and they have made it especially easy that all the ones with A through E have "C" as the answer (for the most part just selecting "C" will navigate fine. Edit

  • The movie does not explicitly indicate when the movie takes place. James Mottram in the book "The Making of Memento" (Faber and Faber, 2002, p. 147) indicates: "For those interested, the action—barring flashbacks—takes place over three days and two nights." [Mottram discusses how it was essential for Cindy Evans, the costume designer, to have Nolan provide this information so she could determine the number of clothing changes a character would need and also to "age them" properly for the required scenes.] From the official website and extras on some of the DVDs we can get additional information not in the film:

    I. The pre-history: The website is clear (if you want to believe that the items in there are "canon") that Leonard was in an institute. A timeline from the website info: The attack was 24 Feb 1997. [Website (HTML or Flash) or Copy of website on the DVD: Newspaper article - "revenge" - 1st item is a "Police Department death report"]. Leonard's wife died Nov 1997 (probably before the 4th) [From copy of website on the DVD: newspaper article - "Forgetful" - 7th item is part of psych evaluation with the comment: "he [Leonard] demanded to see his wife (deceased 11/97)". He also has a note to himself (on website and DVD copy) newspaper article - "Leonard" - 3rd item dated 4 Nov 1997: "She's gone, Leonard. Gone for good." [There also is a newspaper clipping (on DVD and both website versions: newspaper article - "Leonard" - 1st item) that indicates that his wife "was listed in critical condition". This is presumably the day after the attack]. Leonard's "initial diagnosis" at the institute was 16 Jan 1998 [Website (HTML or Flash) or Copy of website on the DVD: Newspaper article - "forgetful" - 6th item is his "initial diagnosis" with the date.] He escaped from the institute Sept 1998 [Website (HTML or Flash) or Copy of website on the DVD: the Newspaper article states this at the start of the 3rd column]. The movie takes place around 25 Oct 1999 [Website (Flash) or Copy of website on the DVD: the Newspaper article - "suspicious" - 4th item is a "police department officer's report" on an interview with Emma the tattooist which has dates.] Leonard probably killed the first John G right after escaping (which was "over a year ago" as Teddy said in the film)

    II. Other clues: The website is clear: "Shelby suffers from severe anterograde memory dysfunction as a result of head trauma sustained during confrontation with intruder (Feb 1997). Shelby has recovered almost none of his ability to convert short-term experiences into long term memory" [Newspaper article - "forgetful" - 5th item]. This indicates that Leonard is not faking and that he can convert some of his memories to long-term memory.

    III. Teddy's license: (1) Name: John Edward Gammel, (2) City: San Francisco, and (3) Plate number: SG13-7IU (seven-i-u). Note the tattoo has 71U and the car changes from 7IU to 71U in the movie—a hint of how treacherous the memory is! Edit

  • There are 3 different versions of the "Official" Memento website. On the online website there is a flash and an HTML version. On the R1US single-disc DVD there is a copy. [There is also a copy on the R2UK 3-disc DVD which is presumed to be the same as the US edition, but has not been confirmed by anyone]. All three start out with the "Memento" scraps and the "Some memories are best forgotten" segments and go to a newspaper article which was presumably written after the events of the film ("Photograph Sparks Murder Investigation"). On the Flash/DVD (not on the HTML) version the last word "Questions" in the Subtitle is also a link. This link leads to a scrap of Paper that states "WHO DID I KILL?". In the Flash if you enter type in "Teddy" in the second scrap and click on it, you will get a short film of clips from the film. On the DVD, if you click on it you get a list of names and if you choose "Teddy" you will get credits for the DVD.

    All three have links based on certain words:

    Column 1 Paragraph 1: "body" Paragraph 1: "foul" Paragraph 2: "suspicious" Column 2 Paragraph 2: "Leonard" Paragraph 3: "photographs" Column 3 Paragraph 5: "forgetful" Paragraph 6: "local" Paragraph 6: "revenge"

    The body link takes you to the picture of dead Teddy. On the Flash version it changes to a shot of Leonard's wife taking a breath under the shower curtain and then back to the original. If selected on the DVD, the picture is changed to the Leonard's wife taking a breath and then back to Teddy's pic. The HTML just returns to the article. The foul link in all 3 versions has 4 items. In the Flash/DVD version the first one (the Dodd photo) transforms into the pointing Leonard photo. The suspicious link on the flash/DVD has 5 items and on the HTML there is only 4. The HTML does not have the "Police Department" report where an officer interviewed Emma. Like in the 2 previous words the first item on the Flash/DVD version transforms. It changes to a shot of Leonard creating tattoo fact 5 and then back again. The Leonard link has 4 items in all 3 versions. The first (a newspaper article about the attack) is transformed in the Flash/DVD version to show a closeup of Leonard's eye, then his wife taking a breath, then back to the article. The photographs link is much different in the Flash/DVD than in the HTML. The Flash/DVD have pictures of Marko, Noam, Teddy, David, Dodd. The Flash also ends with a picture of Miquel which the DVD does not have. Other than Teddy and Dodd, none of the pictures were props shown in the film. [The may have been created by and are pictures of the website designers. The website indicates: "Site design by Webflow Solutions and Musth Design. For design information, please call (212) 750-0996 or email". So Marko seems to be one of the designers.] The HTML version from the photographs link shows only photo props from the film: dead Teddy, Natalie, jaguar, Dodd,Teddy, truck, burned dead Jimmy pic, Discount Inn.

    There are 11 items in the forgetful link. The 7th item in the DVD is slightly different from the current Flash/HTML version. It is a scrap of paper from a "Clinical Record" of Leonard's "Initial diagnosis". In the scrap there are a couple of paragraphs. At the end of the first paragraph in the Flash/HTML is the sentence: "I asked if anything was bothering him and he demanded to see his wife (deceased)." In the DVD version the same sentence states: "I asked if anything was bothering him and he demanded to see his wife (deceased 11/97)." The HTML version currently matches the Flash version, but before the summer of 2001 it matched the DVD. Sometime in the summer of 2001 it was changed online to match the Flash version. The local from the Flash/HTML versions are identical and contain 5 items. The DVD version contains only 4 items, the scrap of paper with the photocopy of Teddy's driver's license and the note from Natalie is not on the DVD. All versions have the same items from the revenge link. The order of the items on the HTML version of a couple of the items is different than on the Flash/DVD versions. Edit

  • Like most questions in this film, an explicit answer is never provided. At the end he briefly shows a badge to Leonard but Leonard doesn't seem to get enough of a look at it to confirm its authenticity. The movie mostly implies that he is, with only a few minor suggestions that he might not be. Teddy being the police officer that was assigned to Leonard's case would provide a reason as to why Teddy is in Leonard's life at all since it is obvious that he didn't know Teddy before the attack or he would remember him every time he saw him and wouldn't need a picture of him. Teddy seems to know a lot about Leonard's police file which would support that he really was the cop assigned to Leonard's case. He also seems to know a lot about Jimmy Grantz and his dealings, something that would probably be considered easy information for a local police officer to obtain. However, at the end when Leonard meets Teddy in the lobby after the phone call, Teddy greets Leonard with the traditional "Lenny!" and when Leonard says, "Officer Gammel," Teddy suspiciously looks over at Burt, who wasn't paying attention, before confirming his identity and continuing outside. Also, when the two of them are in Dodd's hotel room and Leonard proposes that they force Dodd to leave town using a gun, Teddy replies, "Why would I have a gun?", when it is common for police officers to carry an off-duty weapon within their jurisdiction. Teddy's criminal motives (helping Leonard kill two people, taking drug money) may also support the idea that Teddy is not a cop, although it wouldn't be impossible to imagine a corrupt police officer doing the same thing. Teddy is revealed to have been lying about some things in this film along with several explanations given to Leonard about his motives that seem fishy, so it wouldn't be completely unreasonable to think that Teddy might not actually be a cop. Edit



The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • There is some debate on what we are supposed to believe happened at the end of the film. Is Teddy lying/truthful? Did Leonard's wife actually die and if she did how did she die? Was there a second attacker? Was there even an attack? Is Teddy the second attacker? Etc. In most regards it does not matter what we believe happened in the backstory. The "twist" is independent of all of that. Of the many questions raised throughout the story, most of them could be thought of as macguffins. The twist in the film is that at the end, no matter what the truth is, Leonard believes that Teddy is not the second attacker yet wants to kill him anyway. If Leonard believed that Teddy were the second attacker, he would kill him then and there. Even though he does not believe Teddy is the second attacker (whether he is or not) he still decides to set him up. Leonard even indicates in the voice-over before setting up Teddy that he does not even think the Teddy could be the second attacker: "You think I just want another puzzle to solve? Another John G to look for? You're a John G. So you can be my John G. Do I lie to myself to be happy? In your case, Teddy, yes, I will." We can argue why or how his actions are moral/immoral, but his actions demonstrate he does not believe Teddy is the second attacker and is abandoning any quest for the second attacker. Whether this means that Leonard believes him to be dead, "unfindable" or in some other condition is not explicitly indicated. Writing down Teddy's license plate indicates that Leonard believes that the second attacker is already dead (or unknowable or no longer worth hunting) and is choosing to set himself up to kill Teddy, a man he does not believe to be the second attacker. So, Leonard admits to consciously choosing to lie to himself in order to continue on a "false quest" in order to make himself happy. Edit

  • Both from the point of view of movie consistency and judging by the information offered by the film, in spite of possibilities of various interpretations, most believe Leonard is not faking and really suffers from the anterograde amnesia. There are several things which really demonstrate that he is not faking: (1) Why would Leonard "fake" even when he is alone: who is he faking for (us, the viewers of the film)? (2) Why would Leonard put himself in danger by "knowingly" chasing after a man (Dodd) who has a gun and is trying to kill him? (3) Why would Leonard put himself in danger by showering in the room of a man (Dodd) who wants to kill him? (4) Why does Leonard need to "lie to himself" (since if he were faking, he would not be lying to himself; he would know that Teddy is not John G.) to set Teddy up for killing? If he decided that he wanted to kill Teddy, why not just kill him? Why would he need to "fool himself" by tattooing the license plate? (5) Another indication is while in the bathroom, Leonard tries to wash off his "remember Sammy Jankis" tattoo. If Leonard were faking he would know it was not written on, but tattooed, so he would have no reason to try to wash it off.

    Also, if Leonard were faking, when and why did he even start to fake it? Why would he start faking after the accident? If his wife died in the accident (as some believe) why pretend to fake the condition, as it would otherwise be so much easier to get vengeance. If his wife died "testing the faking" with the insulin (as others believe), then Leonard knowingly killed her - which then begs for a motive of why Leonard decided to kill his wife. There are some questions on things he seems to remember which can be explained by editing. It is clear we do not see Leonard 24 hours per day / 7 days a week. We only see him for a total of about 2 hours over the course of presumably about 3 days. There is a lot of information that we do not see. Edit

  • If one does not believe Teddy or is arguing about the reliability of Leonard's memory, the detectives who concluded that there was only one attacker may be correct and we can believe Leonard killed him. If one chooses to believe Leonard's account to Natalie, there were at least two attackers. Leonard shot one attacker in the head, and the other got away. If we presume that Teddy is telling the truth during the exposition, they were a "couple of junkies too strung out to realize your wife didn't live alone", and that Teddy was assigned to the case of his wife's death, and believed Leonard about there being a second attacker. He decided to help him find the second attacker (who they discover is a white male with first name of John and last name starting with a "G". Over a year before the events of the film, they find "John G" and Leonard kills him. Afterwards Leonard decides to continue hunting for a man he already killed, which leads us a year later to Leonard in the Discount Inn. If we presume that Teddy is lying, the film provides no suggestion or hint of who they might be or even if there was an attack at all. Edit

  • This is a difficult question to answer, since we are not even sure of all the facts. She could have died in the attack, though it is also possible there was not an attack or that Leonard does not even have a wife. It is all a matter of what one takes as fact and what one concludes from that fact. There is also the exposition which indicates (and can be supported via the character's actions at the end) that Leonard's wife died from an insulin overdose. She survived the attack/rape and went on living her life, however, she could not deal with her husband's (Leonard's) condition. She wanted to kill herself and she used Leonard as a proxy. She set Leonard up to give her multiple shots, and died from the overdose. Even though it was a "suicide by proxy", both Teddy and Leonard believe that death was a result of the attack and thus the second attacker is still culpable for her death. Edit

  • Leonard got the scratches while fighting Jimmy Grantz. As he is strangling Jimmy, Jimmy scratches Leonard's face. There is a "turn" of Leonard's head as the scratching occurs. The sequence of events within the film are: (1) at 1:38:55, we see Leonard's face unscratched as he looks at Jimmy, (2) at 1:38:57, we see Jimmy scratch the left side of Leonard's face with his right hand as Leonard turns his head to the left, (3) at 1:38:58, we see a "flashback" of Leonard's wife's head in the shower curtain, and (4) at 1:39:00, we see Leonard's face with scratches as he again looks at Jimmy. Edit

  • (There are 26 tattoos, counting "The facts" as one tattoo; 27, if you count the "daydream tattoo"). In film order they are: (1) Left Hand (0:06:50) "remember Sammy Jankis" {Tattoo is in script} (2) Left Forearm (0:11:30) "THE FACTS"

    Between 0:14:00 - 0:14:30 we are shown the majority of the other tattoos as Leonard examines his body. (3) Circling his neck in mirror image: "JOHN G. RAPED AND MURDERED MY WIFE" (4) Diagonally across his chest: "find him and kill him" (5) Upper Abdomen (Upside-down) "PHOTOGRAPH: HOUSE CAR FRIEND FOE" (6-7) Right Bicep: "CONSIDER THE SOURCE" and "MEMORY IS TREACHERY" (8-9) Left Bicep: "SHE IS GONE" and "Time Still Passes"

    As Leonard looks down to his abdomen we see a closer view of #5 from his point-of-view and examine: (10) Upper Abdomen (Upside-down): "condition yourself" (11-12) Lower Left Ribcage (Upside-down): "DON'T TRUST" and "HIDE YOUR WEAKNESS" (13-17) Lower Right Ribcage (Upside-down): "buy film" {Tattoo is in script}, "CAMERA DOESN'T LIE", "NOTES CAN BE LOST", "HABIT & ROUTINE", and "LEARN BY REPETITION".

    Then no longer from his point of view, as Leonard removes his pants the camera pans down and we see: (18) Lower Abdomen right side (Upside-down): "I'M NO DIFFERENT" (19) Under is navel (Upside-down): "EAT" (20-21) inside Right Forearm: "FACT 3. FIRST NAME JOHN" and "OR JAMES" {note: the "or james" is a different style and almost appears to be written with a black marker} and "FACT 4. LAST NAME: G_________" (22-23) Left Thigh: "FACT 5: DRUG DEALER" and "Fact 6: car license number SG1371U"

    As Leonard sits down and investigates his information we see: (24-25) Left Forearm: "FACT 1: MALE" and "FACT 2. WHITE"

    At about 1:09:41, Leonard peels off a bandage to reveal: (26) Right Forearm: "NEVER ANSWER THE PHONE" (27) Left pectoral (1:49:52): the "daydream tattoo" (the spot is blank elsewhere in the film) "I'VE DONE IT" Edit

  • This is a very difficult question to answer since we aren't explicitly told how long they have even know each other. The key point from the film is that through the majority of the film time (both event time and screen time) Leonard was manipulating himself. If we believe Teddy's exposition at the end of the film, they have know each other for over a year and Teddy manipulated Leonard to kill Jimmy recently, though did allow Leonard to continue to believe that the second attacker was still alive. If we do not believe Teddy's exposition, they may have first met in the lobby of the Discount Inn or have known each other for decades. Edit

  • It is never explicitly stated in the film, but it is clear that they had met before: Jimmy appears to recognize Leonard when they first meet at the drug deal and associates him with Teddy (Jimmy sees Leonard and asks what Leonard is doing there and where Teddy is). Natalie indicates that her boyfriend (who is Jimmy) told her about a memory man. It is not unreasonable to presume that at some point, Teddy introduced Jimmy to Leonard. This would make sense for Teddy to do in his setup of Jimmy. Teddy was going to send Leonard to a drug deal so that Leonard would kill Jimmy. By introducing Jimmy to Leonard, Jimmy learns about Leonard's condition and believes him to be non-threatening. If Teddy had not introduced them, Jimmy would not know Leonard and is more likely to leave or attack Leonard for being at the scene of the crime. Teddy says that Jimmy dealt drugs out of the Discount Inn and that the guy at the front desk (Bert?) called him if anybody came snooping around. The guy called Jimmy when he saw Leonard taking a picture of "the dump". If this is to be believed then Jimmy would not have known Leonard, but known of him and would most likely have seen him at the Inn. Edit

  • The movie is not explicit as to why, but it appears to be an attempt to try and convince Leonard that they have met before and that he is not who Leonard thinks he is. Whether this was its intent or not, it seems to work this way on Leonard as it does seem to convince Leonard that Jimmy was not the second attacker. It is too late to save Jimmy because he is dead by the time Leonard pieces this together. Some have speculated that Jimmy is already dead at this time and Leonard only hears it in his imagination. While it is possible that anything we see in the film may be in Leonard's imagination, there is nothing to suggest that only he heard it as the audience hears it (it is even on the subtitles and in the script as well) and the film also seems to show a shot of him breathing a few seconds before the shot of him whispering, "Sammy..." Edit

  • Leonard kills Teddy since at the time he truly believes that Teddy is the second attacker since he manipulated himself to believe this. But the film indicates that Leonard does not believe Teddy is the second attacker since Leonard admits to lying to himself about it to be happy. But whether this happiness is to have a purpose and goal in life as Teddy suggests in the exposition, or that Leonard is just happy to kill anyone, or some other speculation not raised by the film is open to interpretation. There has been some speculation that Leonard sets up Teddy to avenge Jimmy's death or out of anger for being manipulated, but others have pointed out that Leonard would not need to lie to himself to do this but could have just killed Teddy in moral outrage if that was his intent with no need to lie to himself at all. Another theory is that Leonard does not want to be reminded that he killed his wife and wants to eliminate Teddy to prevent this from happening again. Leonard says he is "not a killer", meaning that he does not have the kind of personality to cold-bloodedly pull the trigger and kill Teddy while knowing he is doing it for reasons other than to avenge his wife's death. He does however have the ability to set something in motion that will impel him to kill Teddy later, so he writes down the license plate number as a way to do that. Edit

  • Since the last event in the film's chronology is the death of Teddy, the film does not explicitly answer this question. There are several possibilities if one chooses to speculate. If Leonard does not get caught by the police he may: (1) choose to continue to hunt for the dead Teddy (choosing to ignore any evidence that Teddy is already dead, (2) choose to stop hunting believing that Teddy is the second attacker, (3) delete or edit his current clues and begin to hunt other victims. If he does get caught by the police, he may: (1) be put into a more secure mental facility, (2) go to prison, (3) go to a facility for the criminally insane. Edit

See also

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