Memento An analysis of the opening sequence By Anoushka
Introduction to the opening sequence
The opening sequence begins with the title sequence followed by the beginning of the narration of the story
The titles include the names of the director Christopher Nolan and the main characters played by Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano
They appear in a blue font over a plain black background
The name of the film is then presented and soon overlaps a POV+CU shot of a photograph being held in a person’s hand The photograph consists of a dead person lying on the ground with blood spilt all over the walls This instantly introduces the conventional thriller concept of death/murder in our minds in addition to other themes such as mystery, violence and goriness The fact that is it a POV and CU shot makes the audience draw attention to the photograph
We understand that the photograph is taken from a Polaroid camera since the actor continuously flicks it in order for for the photograph to develop. Also, the Polaroid camera is later on used by the actor, which makes it more clear What raises questions in the audiences minds is the fact that the colour of the photograph fades every time the actor flicks it instead of it becoming more vivid. This adds the ‘mystery’ element to the thriller.
This idea is taken forward when the photograph goes back into the camera, the blood on the walls travels upwards, etc. This makes us understand that the motion of this clip is reversed.
This establishes the psychological aspect of this film, thus classifying it as a psychological thriller in terms of genre.
Distressed/anxious expression which is conventional in a thriller Blood/Injury adds to the violence/goriness of the sequence
These shots establish the killing
These frames build up on thriller conventions that we as an audience can identify Bullet Blood stains on wall Dead person Killer with a gun
The background score in this sequence is composed of a slow rhythmic tune that gradually fades into a very soft and rather creepy score which builds the tension in the scene
The sound effects in this sequence are very significant: the camera clicking the photograph, the bullet rolling, etc.
These sounds become louder towards the end and result in a blaring gunshot and scream which shakes the audience. This adds to the ‘thrill’ effect.
In general, Memento very successfully introduces the key themes involved in a conventional thriller such death, blood, mystery and anxiety.
In addition to that, the reversed motion concept plays with the audiences’ minds thus giving them a bit more than a regular thriller.