Sunday, 23 January 2011

Analysis of 3 scenes from Momento. How is suspense created ?

Momento (2000)

Momento is a psychological thriller about a man with anterograde amnesia which renders his brain unable to store new memories. The man is on a vengeance to kill the man ‘John G’ who raped and attacked both him and his wife, he believes that the man is responsible for his wife’s death but later discovers his wife survived the attack, the attacker is dead and he’s responsible for her death.

Momento part one:

This is the opening to ‘Momento’. This scene creates suspense firstly by prolonging the time focused on the picture of a bloody crime scene. Then we notice the picture fades and hand movement is playing backwards, time is reversed so the audience are left anticipating what’s happening? The music adds to the suspense, by creating a dramatic atmosphere.  We are shown a dead body and blood, the audience put two and two together realising its a murder scene, the fact the man still remains makes us question his motive. Then we see the man shot the victim.1:46 it quickly cuts to the same man in a motel, the scene is in black and white which causes a ambiguity to what has just happened. Was that a flash back or a dream?  Whilst he is in his motel room we hear the diegetic sound of the characters voice, he is talking about being in the room, but his voice and dialogue sounds uncertain also hearing a sound which resembles a heartbeat, this creates a tempo, which feels like it is leading up to a climax. Throughout this scene we are shown images with writing on for example 4:18 shows a picture of ‘Teddy’ a character we are familiar with, the note says ‘Don’t believe his lies’ as the audience we take this on board, yet we are unaware of why we shouldn’t believe him, this leaves us in suspense.

Momento Part 8:

In this section the lightening is dark as it’s night, he is woken up by sounds what sounds like a women being attacked, we see a glimpse of light under the door we do not know who is in there,  the man reaches for the gun this shows us he is threaten, the audience are in the blue and are wondering who’s in the room.  Eerie music begins to build up pace, the audience are left anticipating. 33 seconds in the man is thrown to the floor unconscious, his head pouring of blood we are unaware whether the attacker has left. 2:45 cuts to him back into the motel room, the story line isn’t comprehendible, the time line is blurred hence we are anxious to understand.

Momento part 10:

There is tension between the two character and they are arguing. The tension creates suspense to whether they will attack each other.  The dialogue of ‘Teddy’  is accompanied by music, this gives the dialect  greater significance, almost reflecting it is the realisation of the whole movie, the point when the truth is uncovered. 2:10 ‘Leonard’is told it was his wife that had diabetes, meaning the story in his head of ‘Sammy’ was actually him. 2:11 ‘Leonard’ has a flashback, the flashback merely backs up the statement ‘Teddy’ just made, this leave the audience questioning the whole story, contemplating on the truth... whether they can ‘trust Teddy’. 4:46 ‘Teddy’ declares his name is ‘John G’, the audience realise that’s the name of the attacker and he could possibly be the killer.

Throughout 'Momento' suspense is caused by it's unique format, working backwards the audience are left finding clues which unravel it's mystery, why Leonard killed Teddy? The ambiguity of the story line keeps us in suspense, the fact Leonard is uncertain and relys on photos for information keeps us questioning the narrative. Music and colour effects also are used at crucial moments, which at the end of the film we can recap and realise, the purpose of it.. for example 'Sammys' story.

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