What makes a cult movie? Something unique, out-of-the-box ideas and innovative ways of story-telling clubbed together by a genius director that had a strange way of being attractive to the masses? Or something which has set the benchmark in filmmaking and inspired several other creators to follow suit? When Jonathan Nolan pitched the plot of ‘Memento Mori’ to his brother Christopher, the latter smelled the ingredients of something very unique and decided to roll over the cameras. But while composing the screenplay for the movie, Christopher added his own creative genius and when ‘Memento’ was released in 2000, the entire film fraternity sat up and watched the brilliance unfold itself on the silver screen. 17 years later, this film still remains fresh, no matter how many times you watch it.
Christopher Nolan’s latter films are all overridden with scientific elements and with the constraint of budget gone, he has been able to showcase his vivid imaginations more clearly. ‘Following’ in 1998 and ‘Memento’ in 2000 were his earlier films and the purse wasn’t quite loose enough. Creativity isn’t expensive and Nolan has proven that with his ‘cult-status’ film in 2000. Jonathan’s story about a man with anterograde amnesia looking for his wife’s killer and using several unique methods to keep track of the timeline was a fresh and challenging plotline in itself. If made in the straight, old-fashioned way, it would have caught attention, although perhaps, not in the same way. When Christopher introduced the dual timelines concept in the screenplay, it was the beginning of something hitherto unseen in the cinematic world.
The film begins with the climax of the story, the murder of a man called Teddy in an abandoned warehouse. From that moment onwards, the story of the protagonist is told in two ways. The color shots go backwards from the present scene, while the black-and –white shots commencing from the moment he wakes up lost in a motel room go in forward direction. Eventually the both lines meet and comes back to the warehouse, setting up a climax which made the watchers all sit up and take notice. Even if some director had managed to conjure up such a bizarre way of telling the story, it’s highly doubtful he/she could come up with this alternate way of mixing up monochrome and color. This is why Christopher Nolan is so different; he throws away the obvious under the bus so easily.
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