Christopher Nolan 's Film Memento Essay

1436 Words May 24th, 2016 6 Pages
Memory is the mechanism through which one forms and alters their identity, and it is this inherent idea that is explored in Christopher Nolan’s film Memento, depicting a former insurance claims investigator, Lenny, on the hunt for the murderers of his wife while suffering from anterograde amnesia due to traumatic brain injury at the hands of the murderers. While Memento is not the first film to utilize amnesia as a plot device, it does deserve exceptional recognition for portraying the neurobiological effects of anterograde amnesia accurately. In particular, the film excels at portraying the utilization of an artificial memory system to showcase Lenny’s attempts at continuing his life and the portrayal of the impacts of anterograde amnesia on declarative and non-declarative memory systems. However, Nolan also utilizes his artistic license in depicting the severity of Lenny’s retrograde and anterograde amnesia symptoms to create the essential identity of Lenny. The neurobiological cause of anterograde amnesia in Lenny is a traumatic brain injury from the murderer attacking him from behind most likely damaging his hippocampus and surrounding cortices. As a result, he has an impaired ability to encode and consolidate new declarative memories as showcased in the experiment Warrington and Weiskrantz (1970) conducted. As a mechanism to adapt and cope with his condition, Lenny creates an artificial memory system through tattooing pieces of information and annotating polaroid…

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