Memento

Leonard Shelby has lost his short-time memory due to a brain trauma, he cannot make new memories any more. His wife was killed by robbers, and despite his state he wants to track down the murderer and kill him. He uses photographs and tattoes on his body to make himself remember some important facts.

Continuity mistake: After entering room 304, Leonard steps on the bed to put the 4 photos back up on his paper on the wall. In the 1st close-up he puts the Discount Inn and the 2nd close-up he puts up Natalie. Then in a wide shot of Leonard looking at the paper, visible at the top of the paper, in the center, is the photo of Natalie and on its right is the photo of Teddy, already up. In the next shot, the 3rd close-up, he puts up his car. However in the next wide shot ALL three photos that he just put up in the close-ups are GONE. Then in the 4th close-up he puts up Teddy's photo, which was up in the first wide shot. (00:12:25)

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Leonard Shelby: You know, I can remember so much. The feel of the world... Her. She's gone. And the present is trivia, which I scribble down as fucking notes.

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Trivia: The filming of Memento took only 25 days.

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Question: I still don't understand why Leonard switches clothes with Jimmy and steals his car after he kills him. "I'd rather be mistaken for a dead guy than a killer." That makes absolutely no sense. Driving around in Jimmy's car and wearing his suit would make him the prime suspect in the investigation. He was much safer when he was just an anonymous guy driving around in a pickup truck.

Answer: It is never explicitly given. The most Leonard says on the subject is: "I'd rather be mistaken for a dead guy than a killer." Speculations include (you can make up your own motives as well) : (1) The clothes and car are so much nicer than his. If you are willing to kill someone: stealing is not really a "crime." Why not take the nicer objects? (2) It could be part of his "routine": Kill a man, take his clothes and car. The clothes he had on and the truck may be from the man he killed a year ago. (3) It could be that he wants to make the killer of his wife suffer even more, and takes his clothes as a way of humiliating him. Leonard takes the man's life-his clothes and car, which are wrapped up in his identity-just as the man took his. This idea seems to work with a theme in Memento about "Identity" (especially mistaken identity). Natalie thinks Leonard is Jimmy, then thinks he is Teddy, then learns he is Leonard. Teddy is "mistaken" for the second killer, Jimmy is "mistaken" for the 2nd killer. Sammy's story as a part of Leonard's story, etc. (4) It could "simply" be explained as a "plot device": Leonard has to do it, otherwise he won't find the note in "his pocket" and meet Natalie. (5) Leonard doesn't want to admit he's a murderer. He's lying to himself. If he's the victim, then he cannot be the murderer. (6) Leonard takes Jimmy's clothing as part of his routine of killing J.G.'s he becomes another person, he's the victim not the killer, thus "I'd rather be mistaken for a dead guy than a killer." and that's why he also takes his car, so he has to, once again, find his wife's killer and kill him.

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