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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.

Leonard's past

Posts: 434
Location: Where the snow falls
So I watched Memento for the third time, and I'm more perplexed about Leonard's past life now more than ever. Specifically, I'm having trouble discerning what is analogous between the protagonist (and his wife) and Sammy Jenkis (and his [supposed] wife) and what is not. I thought I had it all figured out when I believed that Sammy Jenkis was invariably Leonard Shelby; the former was purely the latter's self-conceived fabrication to obscure the true circumstances of his wife's death.

So why does Teddy say that Sammy Jenkis was a "fraud"? How does this connect? Heck, I didn't even bother to think that Sammy Jenkis was at all real until now....

Oh, and another thing: I'm sure someone has noticed those flashbacks that take place in the last scene when Guy Pearce's character, while driving from the abandoned building to the tattoo parlor to have "SG1 7IU" inked on his thigh, says, "Do I believe the world's still out there? Is it still out there...? Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different." Those flashbacks seem to show Loenard's wife - not Sammy's or Natalie - resting her head on his chest...

...which was covered in tattoos. :batface:

Seriously, this his hurting my head right now, so I'll leave it to you guys.

Your replies, given they're edifying, will be much appreciated.
Posts: 9827
1)I'm too lazy to search for it but somewhere Nolan has said that the audience want the answers to badly that they believe everything Teddy says in that scene.They forget that he is an unreliable character...implying that he doesnt tell the hole truth or that it is all a lie.

2)That scene where he is with his wife and that tattoo-"I've done it" is his biggest fantasy,wish,dream whatever you call it.That killing this John G will bring his wife back.
Posts: 4528
Location: Insomnia, Norway
Teddy was supposed to meet Jimmy, but sent Lenny instead to have him killed and to sooth Lenny's needs to kill a John G.
Lenny freaks out though, when he hears Jimmy say "Sammy". He understands something is not right. That is clearly his instincts showing.
After Lenny has killed Jimmy and taken his clothes and car, Teddy naturally freaks out.
Then Lenny drives to the Bar, "to come by after", which was meant for Jimmy. Natalie believes her boyfriend arrives, but sees Lenny in her boyfriends clothes and car. And she knows who Lenny is. She takes her time, puzzles the bits and does never tell Lenny that she recognized Teddy. She knows Jimmy was gonna meet Teddy, and clearly understands that Jimmy has been used.
But why she chooses to use Lenny, while doubting his condition is still nagging me..

In my opinion Teddy was clearly unreliable, but he is not evil. He looks out for Lenny and gives him the possibility to full fill his meaningless actions even if Lenny is driving around in a dead man's car and wearing dead man's clothes. That takes dedication.

When it comes to Sammy Jenkis, I believe he is a reflection of Lenny's destroyed mind. A man who simply will never acknowledge that his wife died of insulin. I do remember a viral for Memento that has a fake newspaper article about a man escaping an asylum..probably Lenny.

And when it comes to the old derelict house, I sometimes see that house as the one Lenny and his wife used to live in. At the end when Jimmy shows up, there are some interesting flashbacks to Lenny's wife looking out the windows and more.

Such a wonderful mindfuck.

Memories are unreliable is the only notion I am left with after the film. Lenny criticizes memories' credibility in a really good talk with Teddy early in the film and tells him he can only trust his instincts with habit and routine. And when Teddy tells Lenny the truth, Lenny's REAL memories before the accident prove to be VERY messed up. And Lenny makes the conscious choice of making Teddy his "John G" , never forget:

I'm just someone who wanted to make things right. Can't I just let myself forget what you've told me? Can't I just let myself forget what you've made me do. You think I just want another puzzle to solve? Another John G. to look for? You're John G. So you can be my John G... Will I lie to myself to be happy? In your case Teddy... yes I will.

That final line made all the difference to me. It is a long sequence in the house at the end, way longer than the scene at Natalie. This moment seems to get stuck in Lenny in a way I can't explain because in the end, when Teddy says "lets go down in the basement, then you will see who you REALLY are" which Lenny has a subtle reaction to I also become quite mindfucked by.
Posts: 434
Location: Where the snow falls
@Mr. Caine: Are you saying that Teddy - assuming he's lying - said all those things about Sammy Jenkis to reinforce Leonard's delusion? That doesn't make sense, because what revelations Teddy did tell Leonard were presumably to give him a dose of reality....

I missed the "I'VE DONE IT" tattoo on his left pectoral, though. Thanks for pointing that out. Now I found the screenshot:

Image

@tykjen:

And when it comes to the old derelict house, I sometimes see that house as the one Lenny and his wife used to live in. At the end when Jimmy shows up, there are some interesting flashbacks to Lenny's wife looking out the windows and more.


Whoa...that's pretty cool...and it makes sense with those flashbacks.

I like your avatar and signature, BTW.
Posts: 4528
Location: Insomnia, Norway
Another thing I just noticed the last time I watched it, but forgot..

Natalie asks Lenny if he killed Dodd. To that he says "OF COURSE NOT!"

Really?.. how could he be SO sure? The only thing he knew for certain was how the table would sound when he knocked on it, and how things picked up would feel in his hands.

Is this one of those..very clear signs that Lenny is just insane?
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