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The famous 2000 film that put Christopher Nolan on the map tells the story of a man on the hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

Timeline based on an all too in depth period of Analysis

Posts: 264
dustbust5 wrote:"Repressed memory refers to the inability to recall information, usually about stressful or traumatic events in persons' lives, such as a violent attack or rape. The memory is stored in long term memory, but access to it is impaired because of psychological defense mechanisms. Persons retain the capacity to learn new information and there may be some later partial or complete recovery of memory. This contrasts with e.g. anterograde amnesia caused by amnestics such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, where an experience was prevented from being transferred from temporary to permanent memory storage: it will never be recovered, because it was never stored in the first place. Formerly known as "Psychogenic Amnesia"."

"Functional causes are psychological factors, such as mental disorder, post-traumatic stress or, in psychoanalytic terms, defense mechanisms.".

The belief is that Leonard's condition is not that simple, based on several hints Nolan gives us that his condition is as mental as it is physical.


i am not sure what you mean.. are you saying that Leonard doesn't suffer from anterograde amnesia?? or that he demonstrates multiple types of amnesia (anterograde from the head injury, and repressed memory from the insulin injections)..

dustbust5 wrote:Perhaps the single most important one is when Natalie tries to burn a Polaroid of a victim, and while panicking Leonard instinctually answers "you have to burn them". He says this as if he has a clear memory of this from when he burned pictures of other victims, and this would mean his memory works in the case that a memory is required in order to allow the delusion.


procedural memory is still intact in anterograde amnesia patients.. burning the picture to remove certain undesirable "facts" is
no different than Leonard knowing (instinctively) that he needs to look at pictures to know what his current context is..

dustbust5 wrote:Perhaps even scarier is when Teddy tells Leonard that he killed his wife, Leonard seems speechless as he is rushed with images of his wife being alive and the tarp either coming off or being put on, then comes the big one, him giving his wife insulin. We then see Leonard defend himself from this memory by saying his wife wasn't diabetic, he then replays the last memory but now he lies to himself, showing himself the manipulated memory of him pinching her so that he doesn't remember her being diabetic, from this second on we never come back to the issue, although we see Leonard continue to act in a manner just aware and focused enough to maintain his lifestyle and delusion.


and that is the part i don't understand.. if the head trauma made Leonard suffer from aterograde amnesia, he wouldn't remember the episode of him injecting an excess of insulin into his wife... not even through the repressive biographical story of Sammy..

if we assume that Sammy is indeed a self defense construct of Leonard, a question worth asking is:
how does Leonard (a patient of anterograde amnesia) remember the episode after his head trauma?
no amount of subconscious guilt would register in the long term and Leonard could easily live in ignorance (and bliss) rather
than retain memories of the insulin overdose..

dustbust5 wrote:So why would he go on about the inability to be conditioned when the doctors tested him if this story exists to comfort Leonard? So Leonard tells himself and others that he can't do what he does daily.


Sammy's case is unique in that he does not respond to physical conditioning but as i recall the same does NOT hold true for Leonard..

dustbust5 wrote:But that's not as bad as the second implication, that Leonard is actively capable of purposely manipulating the memory of his wife in order to comfort himself. In a story meant to be a riddle box where the proposed narrative is said to be in no way absolutely true or without mental manipulation, Nolan choosing to show us that Leonard can and will actively misremember his wife to comfort himself without regard to the truth is a MASSIVE clue that there is no end to which we can be sure Leonard is doing this.


i agree, Leonard can manipulate and distort his memories.. but if he has caged memories of himself injecting his wife with
insulin AFTER his head injury, he can't have anterograde amnesia..

dustbust5 wrote:Leonard said it himself, he lies to himself to make himself happy, as we all do. To think he only does this rarely when he needs to start over is naive, he does it whenever it's necessary for his journey to continue.


to stay true to the movie Leonard says that he lies to himself specifically in Teddy's case.. which i am pretty sure is bull
as he has pretty much lied to himself throughout the movie..

dustbust5 wrote:He is a complete and utter psychopath born of a traumatic memory he was desperate to repress. Our mind is capable of unbelievable things to defend itself from the truth, that's what this film is about, a dramatic example of all our use of selective memory so that we can only assign value to mementos that support the mini lies we tell ourselves, but again on a massive scale. The massive form of selective memory is psychopathy, and the end reeks of Leonard choosing it more then being forced with it just Like Teddy in Shutter's Island,


i completely accept that his case is that of repressed memory.. but i can't buy that Leonard is an anterograde amnesiac who can recall the insulin overdose incident..
Posts: 179
Viral114 wrote:
dustbust5 wrote:"Repressed memory refers to the inability to recall information, usually about stressful or traumatic events in persons' lives, such as a violent attack or rape. The memory is stored in long term memory, but access to it is impaired because of psychological defense mechanisms. Persons retain the capacity to learn new information and there may be some later partial or complete recovery of memory. This contrasts with e.g. anterograde amnesia caused by amnestics such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, where an experience was prevented from being transferred from temporary to permanent memory storage: it will never be recovered, because it was never stored in the first place. Formerly known as "Psychogenic Amnesia"."

"Functional causes are psychological factors, such as mental disorder, post-traumatic stress or, in psychoanalytic terms, defense mechanisms.".

The belief is that Leonard's condition is not that simple, based on several hints Nolan gives us that his condition is as mental as it is physical.


i am not sure what you mean.. are you saying that Leonard doesn't suffer from anterograde amnesia?? or that he demonstrates multiple types of amnesia (anterograde from the head injury, and repressed memory from the insulin injections)..

dustbust5 wrote:Perhaps the single most important one is when Natalie tries to burn a Polaroid of a victim, and while panicking Leonard instinctually answers "you have to burn them". He says this as if he has a clear memory of this from when he burned pictures of other victims, and this would mean his memory works in the case that a memory is required in order to allow the delusion.


procedural memory is still intact in anterograde amnesia patients.. burning the picture to remove certain undesirable "facts" is
no different than Leonard knowing (instinctively) that he needs to look at pictures to know what his current context is..

dustbust5 wrote:Perhaps even scarier is when Teddy tells Leonard that he killed his wife, Leonard seems speechless as he is rushed with images of his wife being alive and the tarp either coming off or being put on, then comes the big one, him giving his wife insulin. We then see Leonard defend himself from this memory by saying his wife wasn't diabetic, he then replays the last memory but now he lies to himself, showing himself the manipulated memory of him pinching her so that he doesn't remember her being diabetic, from this second on we never come back to the issue, although we see Leonard continue to act in a manner just aware and focused enough to maintain his lifestyle and delusion.


and that is the part i don't understand.. if the head trauma made Leonard suffer from aterograde amnesia, he wouldn't remember the episode of him injecting an excess of insulin into his wife... not even through the repressive biographical story of Sammy..

if we assume that Sammy is indeed a self defense construct of Leonard, a question worth asking is:
how does Leonard (a patient of anterograde amnesia) remember the episode after his head trauma?
no amount of subconscious guilt would register in the long term and Leonard could easily live in ignorance (and bliss) rather
than retain memories of the insulin overdose..

dustbust5 wrote:So why would he go on about the inability to be conditioned when the doctors tested him if this story exists to comfort Leonard? So Leonard tells himself and others that he can't do what he does daily.


Sammy's case is unique in that he does not respond to physical conditioning but as i recall the same does NOT hold true for Leonard..

dustbust5 wrote:But that's not as bad as the second implication, that Leonard is actively capable of purposely manipulating the memory of his wife in order to comfort himself. In a story meant to be a riddle box where the proposed narrative is said to be in no way absolutely true or without mental manipulation, Nolan choosing to show us that Leonard can and will actively misremember his wife to comfort himself without regard to the truth is a MASSIVE clue that there is no end to which we can be sure Leonard is doing this.


i agree, Leonard can manipulate and distort his memories.. but if he has caged memories of himself injecting his wife with
insulin AFTER his head injury, he can't have anterograde amnesia..

dustbust5 wrote:Leonard said it himself, he lies to himself to make himself happy, as we all do. To think he only does this rarely when he needs to start over is naive, he does it whenever it's necessary for his journey to continue.


to stay true to the movie Leonard says that he lies to himself specifically in Teddy's case.. which i am pretty sure is bull
as he has pretty much lied to himself throughout the movie..

dustbust5 wrote:He is a complete and utter psychopath born of a traumatic memory he was desperate to repress. Our mind is capable of unbelievable things to defend itself from the truth, that's what this film is about, a dramatic example of all our use of selective memory so that we can only assign value to mementos that support the mini lies we tell ourselves, but again on a massive scale. The massive form of selective memory is psychopathy, and the end reeks of Leonard choosing it more then being forced with it just Like Teddy in Shutter's Island,


i completely accept that his case is that of repressed memory.. but i can't buy that Leonard is an anterograde amnesiac who can recall the insulin overdose incident..


I think you're answering you're own question here a bit man. Remember, unreliable narrator, key concept that changes every single fact, Leonard can't be trusted, he lies to make himself happy.

Everyone assumes that leonard is projecting his story onto Sammi, but no one asks what his own self is doing in these scenes, considering everything in this film seems to be rooted in memory (the film is not about fantasy, it is about delusion, at no point is iamginative fantasy part of it, so we can't assume he all the sudden creates so much.

Leonard is remembering himself in the roll of the agent who took his case. The reason for this is that Leonard can't run away from the agent nailing him on being able to create new memories when he couldnt learn through conditioning, so he both proves this wrong by putting himself in the agent's shoes towards Sammi (except is he wrong) and he actively tells himself that that was Sammi who was fishy because he failed the conditioning test, but I can condition fine.

Bullshit I say, Leonard learned from this that conditioning was the key to survival and acceptance, so he began to, he assigns his past on Lenny, again, and convinces himself he never couldn't learn through repetition.

The key line is that the agent, whomever it is, does not say he's faking, he says he should be physically capable of making new memories. This is huge, this faking concept is unfair and makes it seem unlikely as it's quite the conscious rouse to keep up. But Nolan's interests are the power of the mind and memory, in this case over the entire being. Leonard's trauma absolutely left him incapable of making memories, it was just a subconscious trauma, not a hippocampus one. DId he have hippocampus damage? Some, so he only has flashes of the event and struggles, but when the insulin happens, he does the obvious thing, he repeeats his inability to remember the first event, he keeps similar flashes and his subconscious effectively makes his mind amnesiac. Not sure if you're knowledgable of the mind's power over the body, but it's capable of completel and utter control, in defense of itself.

In general, have your own opinion, that's the fun, but I do think you should fundamentally loosen up on treating everything leonard says and shows as true, he's an unreliable narrarator and not as an ending save, Nolan's core interest, or one of, was unreliable narrators. So consider that as you collect Leonard's facts.
Posts: 443
Z. Cobb wrote:^ :ugeek:

Thats what i got from it... the Sammy story is actually part of leonard's story after the accident... whereas the real sammy is a faker etc etc

Man, its such a top notch film.

I never knew this was a debate. I thought the film made it clear that Sammy was actually Leonard.
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