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Leonard Shelby wears expensive, tailored suits, drives a late model Jaguar sedan, but lives in cheap, anonymous motels, paying his way with thick wads of cash. Although he looks like a successful businessman, his only work is the pursuit of vengeance: tracking and punishing the man who raped and murdered his wife.
His suspicions dismissed by the police, Leonard`s life has become an all-consuming quest for justice. The difficulty, however, of locating his wife`s killer is compounded by the fact that Leonard suffers from a rare, untreatable form of memory loss. Although he can recall details of life before his accident, Leonard can`t remember what happened fifteen minutes ago, where he is, where he is going or why.
Haunted by what he`s lost, he`s re-built his life out of index cards, photographs, file folders, charts, tattoos and obsessive habits that stand in for memory, fixing him in space and time and connecting him to his mission. Out of necessity, Leonard must rely on others despite being thoroughly ill-equipped to assess either their motives or basic decency. Leonard remembers his past-up to a point. But just who has Leonard become since losing the ability to hold together the fragments of himself?
Memento mines this psychological terrain, using non-linear film narrative to mirror Leonard`s own effort to interpret the random pieces of evidence he hoards. The murder, rewound in the opening frames, we discover, is logically the endpoint of Leonard`s story. What we learn comes from a point earlier in time, a few moments and a few sentences prior to what we have already been shown. As Leonard`s story unfolds, the meaning of events changes. Allies, enemies, victims, victimizers swap place almost kaleidoscopically.
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