One of my favourite things about the way Nolan makes films is his often-jumpy, erratic editing that can take you from one place to another in an instant. I didn’t notice it until Inception, as it’s explained by DiCaprio’s character to Ellen Page as they have lunch together. “How do you think you got here?” It what makes the film troubling and mysterious long after it ends. I think Inception is the film Nolan will never top – the perfect vessel for his style, and certainly his masterpiece. But Memento, with a similarly stunted and severed narrative, serves as an excellent insight into the way Nolan continues to make films.
Despite it all, I understood Memento. Like Inception, so long as you’re paying attention, there’s nothing really to misinterpret. But a quick perusal of IMDb’s trivia has thrown me. There were things I missed – perhaps I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been. I no longer understand Memento.
My conclusion: Leonard did in fact kill his wife’s murderer, but chose not to record his victory. Without a purpose in life, his disability would become unbearable. Teddy takes advantage of this, using him as almost a hired gun – tricking him into killing anybody with the initials of his wife’s killer.
In the film’s opening moments, we see Leonard kill Teddy. Thinking back on it, it’s a sigh of relief. He can go on with his life now, because he got his wife’s killer earlier – and now there’s nobody left to manipulate him.
Fuck, I don’t think I understood this film at all.