By now you know that Christopher Nolan's career-making indie classic Memento is being remade by a company called AMBI Pictures. The movie, based on Nolan's younger brother's short story "Memento Mori," came out in 2000 and defined the style of one of this century's most innovative directors (known best for The Dark Knight series, and that year in which everyone you knew was constantly shouting "inception!" in place of "jinx").
The film had two timelines: one which ran backwards in full color, and another which ran forward in black and white. The main character was a detective named Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce, who was on a hunt for his wife's killer. Because of his short-term memory loss, Leonard's search was aided by hand-written notes, Polaroid pictures, and his choice to have dozens of pieces of pertinent information tattooed onto his body. Leonard had spiky bleach-blonde hair.
the central plot device of this movie is an outdated technology
If it is still 2015, and it was when I woke up this morning, then there are very many words in that paragraph that would make little-to-no sense to a large portion of our current movie-going audience.
Let's walk through those words one by one and figure out what Memento would have to look like to make sense in 2015.
Where would one get a Polaroid camera in 2015? Would we need several establishing scenes of Leonard working at an Urban Outfitters in addition to his detective duties? Or would the Polaroid pictures be replaced with something even less permanent than an amnesiac's memory — Snapchat? Think of how much more harrowing a mystery would be if a bouncing ghost erased everything you knew about it after 4 seconds.
Guy Pearce was a relatively unknown talent when he was cast in Memento, a choice which was made after several A-list actors (including Brad Pitt and Aaron Eckhart) passed on the project, and after Nolan started reckoning more realistically with his $9 million budget. In 2015, Brad Pitt is still an A-list star, and Guy Pearce still isn't. He can and should be in the reboot. I believe in Guy Pearce.
Spiky bleach-blonde hair
Black and white movies
The closest thing would be... the Sepia tones of an Adele video? Inkwell on Instagram?
There was a time when Notes was not a Proper Noun app, but rather an improper noun which referred to writing things on "paper" with a "pencil," which is not an Apple Pencil, but is similar. These notes did not have automatic Cloud back-up. In 2015 it does not really make sense for anyone to record information this way, and it certainly doesn't make sense for broken-brain Leonard. Notes the app, not "notes" the noun: +1 for 2015 Leonard.
Weird tattoos everywhere
In Memento, these tattoos set Leonard apart as a total weirdo. The tatts are part of the plot's mystery, and part of his character's sinister intrigue. In 2015, a person covered in inexplicable tattoos from head-to-toe is probably just an Atlanta Hawk or a member of One Direction.**
The 2015 equivalent would have to be exclusively face tattoos, which would make them a lot harder for Guy to notice serendipitously, and a lot harder to decipher, which added onto the whole Snapchat plot device, has really made his mystery unsolvable. Also if his face is covered in tattoos for the entire movie, I doubt he's really going to make any progress on that whole Guy Pearcaissance thing.
It's impossible to shudder in disquietude when looking at Harry Styles
Memento derived its critical acclaim from a frenetic originality — in its chronology, its structure, and its nuanced portrayal of the psychology of vigilantism (which may have helped Nolan land a certain gig later on). But it also fostered its fandom from the fact that the plot was damn-near indecipherable, and hardly rewarded repeat viewings at all. The thrill was in being lost, and never figuring out the ending, even after you knew it.
Considering the immense popularity of Pretty Little Liars, this kind of insurmountable plot density still has a large audience in 2015.
ALRIGHT. Go ahead, remake it.
*For 2015-ers who don't know what film is / **Tattoos: