Thrillerconventions in theopening titlesequence of MEMENTO
Introduction to the film• Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, adapted from his younger brother Jonathans short story "Memento Mori".• A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes, Polaroids and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.
Memento Opening Sequence and Thriller Conventions• http://youtu.be/8HnW_930nmQ• A series of/ one important enigma(s) are/is set up in the opening sequence of the film, is further complicated during the first part of the film and only resolved at the very end.• The narrative centres around a crime e.g.. a theft or a murder.• The protagonist is fallible and has an Achilles heel that is exploited by the antagonist.• The antagonist ensnares the protagonist in an increasingly complex web, until the protagonist feels isolated and helpless.• Micro elements combine in a build up of suspense.• Themes of seeing, reflection and mirroring. Manipulation of perspectives, visual McGuffins, and optical illusions are common.• Themes of identity are common: mistaken identity, doubling/doppelgangers, amnesia.
Very simple opening credits. Blue text ona black background. The first image the viewer sees is a very long scene of a close up of a mans hand holding a Polaroid photo, the credits continue to appear over the top of the image. Due to the length of the scene, over a minute goes by before the first cut, the viewer realises that the image on the photograph is disappearing. The effect of this is to immediately disorientate the viewer.
THRILLER CONVENTION: Manipulation of perspectives, visual McGuffins, and optical illusions are common.The viewers confusion is further compounded when the scene cuts to amid shot of the photograph being returned to the camera. Due to the speedof the action in the scene it is not immediately obvious that this ishappening in reverse. It is extremely discombobulating for the viewer.
THRILLER CONVENTION: Themes of seeing, reflection and mirroring.The viewer catches the firstglimpse of the protagonists facebut it is obscured by the camerathat he is about to take a photowith. Notions of looking arecommon in thrillers. The viewerbeing given a privilegedperspective and beingfrequently positioned from theprotagonists point of view arecommon techniques in theThriller genre.The camera is then lowered toreveal the protagonist, hisexpression could be fear,disbelief, shock, it is unclear.The viewer can see bloodiedscratches on his face, thisraises questions as to what hashappened to him.
THRILLER CONVENTION: A series of/ one important enigma(s) are/is set up in the opening sequence of the film. The protagonist is fallible and has an Achilles heel that is exploited by the antagonist.The protagonist conceals his camera as if it were a firearm, he puts it back intosome kind of holster on his belt. This communicates to the viewer that thischaracter uses the camera as a form of protection from the antagonist/s. Thisis confirmed later in the film but at this stage it is an enigma that is beingestablished.
THRILLER CONVENTIONS: The narrative centres around a crime eg. a theft or a murder. Micro elements combine in a build up of suspense.The next few shots show howcamerawork,editing and mise en scene all worktogether to build up suspense and toindicate that a crime has occurred.The close up of the blood very slowlyseeping back up the wall is not onlydisorientating but quite graphic.The quick cut to the close up of the bulleton the floor, that then cuts very quickly tothe close up of the glasses by the bloodstained wall, all inform the viewer thatsomeone has been shot dead.
THRILLER CONVENTIONS: Enigma’s are established, the viewer sees the crime take place and microelements are used to build suspense.The scene cuts to the close up of the back of the victims blood splattered head. The useof the editing technique to show everything in slow motion reverse results in it cutting tothe protagonist having the gun fly back in his hand, the victims glasses return to his face,the bullet return to the gun, the shot is heard reverberating and the victim is heard takinghis final cry. All of this action is establishing the thriller conventions mentioned above.
THRILLER CONVENTIONS: Themes of seeing. The narrative presents ordinary situations in which extraordinary things happen.As you hear the victims cry the scene cutsquickly to black and then cuts again to ablack and white close up of the mouth ofthe protagonist, the camera pans up to theeyes of the character.Eyes are popular motifs used in thrillers asthey are generally agreed to be the‘windows to the soul’. Showing theprotagonists’ eyes through a close upinvites the viewer to scrutinize him.The scene then cuts to a close up of thekeys in the bowl being examined.The voiceover is used to make theawakening in the hotel room seem verystrange to the character, thus buildingfurther enigmas.
THRILLER CONVENTIONS: Microelements are used to build suspense. The narrative presents ordinary situations in which extraordinary things happen. A set of enigmas are established in the beginning of the film. The protagonist is fallible and has an Achilles heel that is exploited by the antagonist. Themes of amnesia.The voiceover accompanying the panning shotsof the very ordinary sights of the hotel room makethe situation seem very strange and also sets upthe biggest enigma of all – why can’t theprotagonist remember anything?The fact he is asking himself questions about thesimplest of things suggests he is vulnerable, thissets up the viewers position as being on his sideand being concerned about what may happen tohim.
THRILLER CONVENTION: The audience of a thriller is placed in the ambiguous position of voyeur.This high angle shot has the feel of a CCTV image and positions the viewer asif they have a very privileged, surveillance type view of the action. Thissuggests that the viewer shouldn’t necessarily be seeing this private scene.The angle also heightens the vulnerability of the character. The use of lightingadds a film noir edge to the scene due to the creation of shadows. The sparsenature of the room also enhances the anonymity of this character thuscontributing to the creation of a truly enigmatic protagonist. The opening endswith a fade to black.
How do Thriller Conventions work in Memento as a whole film? http://youtu.be/zK1_P4uZvR8