Nolan has done a great thing having the movie's formal construction (reverse chronology) induce in the audience a similar feeling to what the short term memory sufferer experiences: there are clearly past events driving the action but we don't know what they are. If Leonard doesn't suffer from that condition--that is, if he's in denial or faking--then the reverse chronology is just stylistic fireworks and serves no purpose. I'd be happier with another theory I've heard--that Leonard is actually Sammy Jankis, even though I think it's silly--rather than think the director went to all that trouble just to give pizzazz to an open-ended story. I think he means to say something about the short term memory loss we all suffer to some extent (as Sarah suggested), which leaves us pliable to stories others tell us. [For example, the media spent two years saying that Gore would do anything to win, and then, after they fucked him, that he didn't want to win badly enough. They're counting on our collective amnesia.] The only way to survive is to take control of the narrative--lying to yourself is better than having others lie for you.

Also, FWIW, the director says the movie has a definite meaning--he's just not saying what it is.
- tom moody 8-11-2002 4:29 am

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