Nolan discusses his creative process and his techniques for keeping Memento's complicated plot under control through reordering his writing and using the tight logical filters of his actors. He analyzes the relationship between the screenplay and his brother Jonathan's short story it was based on. Nolan talks about the film's cleverly manipulated promotional website, www.otnemem.com, which was created by his brother and aimed to give audiences a three-dimensional narrative where they can view information in the order that seems the most interesting, following lines of thought by using items and objects from both the film and the short story. The website thus provides a fascinating link between the two works in a way that allows people to make sense of both on their own terms. Nolan also discusses the differences in how he approached the structures of Memento and his 1999 film Following, both of which are non-linear, but while Memento runs backwards, the script for Following was written chronologically and later reordered to fit the structural conceit Nolan wanted. The filmmaker talks about what initially attracted him to the concept for Memento and the metaphorical potential the protagonist's condition provides. He discusses the concept of revenge and how the inability to remember affects it, raising the question of whether revenge exist in any real sense outside of one's own head, or whether it is merely personal satisfaction with no value beyond that. Nolan admits his preference for the noir genre, which allows for more three-dimensional characters based on the historical model of defining a character through action, as opposed to most other film genres where characterization comes through dialogue and narrative. He also argues the noir genre is better suited for the non-linear structure and the audience is more accepting of it this way. Nolan discusses the advantage the thriller writer has over the audience in terms of having a year to write the screenplay, as opposed to the 90 minutes the audience has to digest it. He stresses the importance of understanding and not abusing this advantage, which led him to continually simplify Memento throughout the writing process, avoiding the danger of making the cognitive load of this already incredibly dense film intolerably burdensome for the viewer.
Sibielski examines the history, identity, and failure of rationality as an ordering principle in Memento. Nolan's film illustrates the postmodern rejection of the founding principles of Enlightenment modernity, using narrative, visual and thematic elements to convey the increasingly blurred line between reality and hyperreality. The author argues that postmodern theory is both informed by and interested in popular culture, and this intersection has caused the debate over the nature of postmodernism to spill from academia into the popular culture realm. Memento, Sibielski suggests, is one of the cultural artifacts resulting from this dynamic, echoing the work of several postmodern theorists such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Fredric Jameson, and Kevin Robins. Sibielski argues that the postmodern condition is characterized by a lost sense of history due to the perpetual reproduction of records, such as photographs and video footage, which has left society condemned to seek history through its own pop culture images and simulacra of that history. Memento's thematic symbolism reflects this confused quest for factual history, elevating rationality into the most reliable ordering principle through the actions of the protagonist, Leonard Shelby. Leonard's condition makes his existence a series of perpetual presents, self-contained in the immediate moment and detached from the events that precede them. To remedy this, he constructs a system of photographs and notes, which become his network of mediation that he relies on to transform his experience into a coherent and truthful one. Sibielski argues that the use of photographs reflects Enlightenment modernity's unconditional faith in the objectivity of scientific investigation and empirical research. Yet Memento turns this relationship into an inevitable paradox by introducing the ultimate failure of rationality as Leonard's Polaroids become the subject of shifting and subjective interpretations. This places Memento at the epicenter of the contemporary obsession with ordering and controlling the world, using knowledge as a means to the end of self-actualization, and unfolding the larger discourse of humanism and rationalism as they relate to the notion of objective knowledge.