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So I've watched memento quite a few times. I feel for the most part that I understand it, while most people don't. I’ve seen people go as far as to say that Lenny is Sammy Jankins which is impossible. But my interpretation is: Since Lenny applied what happened to his wife in the story of Sammy Jankins, then obviously he has to be capable of making memories after the accident or he wouldn't know all of these details thus making Lenny's condition psychological not physical and he just lies to himself to relieve his guilt and continues to believe it's physical for the same reason.

But what I don’t get is the scene at the end where he's in bed with his wife and it shows his "I've done it" tattoo. So if his wife was alive to obviously see that tattoo what was his motive to kill him? And why is the tattoo not shown thruoughout the movie? Unless Lennys wife didn’t actually die and he broke the cycle and got back with her or unless he got it removed to continue this cycle. But that doesn’t explain why his wife is alive while he has this tattoo. Can anyone explain this to me?

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4 Answers 4

Lenny is ostensibly suffering from a form of Anterograde amnesia, but as far as I'm aware this is never explicitly confirmed.

Whether you believe that Lenny is Sammy Jankins, whether Sammy Jenkins actually exists or whether Lenny has projected aspects of his personal history onto Sammy is irrelevant: the important thing to take away from Lenny's stories is that he is an unreliable narrator, and his perspective is untrustworthy.

What we can take from this is that Lenny's 'flashbacks' are distortions of his own personal history, and as such do not necessarily have to conform to the rules of narrative logic.

The memories he 'creates' are part of a coping mechanism he seems to have developed as a way of dealing with the trauma of Whatever really happened, between him and his wife.

As you identified, the 'impossible tattoo' is just that: impossible. It's part of his fantasy.

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Thanks i never really thought of it like that. You and Ankit Sharma seem to have a better grasp on the story then pretty much the whole internet! –  Nick S Jan 27 at 22:26
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@NickS, no worries Nick, that's what makes this site so much better than all the wiki's out there: you can just ask a question as a human being and get an answer from another human! Who knew open communication would be so helpful?!?! :) –  John Smith Optional Jan 27 at 22:28

I think the "I'VE DONE IT" tattoo is an important plot point and maybe even the climax of the movie. Its appearance is a sign Lenny realizes -- if only for a moment, before his next memory lapse -- that he has found a way to get some vengeance and also end his run of murders.

Lenny has just written himself a note to get a tattoo of Teddy's license plate number. He does this to punish Teddy because Teddy has just confessed to using Lenny. Lenny knows he himself will soon forget the confession and everything else that just happened. So Lenny decides to sentence Teddy to death, by getting a tattoo of Teddy's license plate, which later will make forgetful-Lenny think Teddy is John G.

The image of the "I'VE DONE IT" tattoo depicts Lenny just after writing the note to himself about Teddy's license plate -- briefly savoring a moment of victory in the form of a quick day-dream where he is with his wife, laying in bed, a proclamation of victory freshly inked on his chest.

Immediately after the appearance of the image with the "I'VE DONE IT" tattoo, Lenny's memory resets. Lenny is sitting there, having forgotten everything that just happened in the previous 5 minutes or so -- but holding that fateful note about Teddy's license plate, which will indeed lead Lenny to eventually kill Teddy, giving him vengeance and presumably ending his string of murders.

See for yourself: watch the scene again.

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I had forgotten about those flashes with his wife and the tattoo. Given that the previous flashbacks were in black & white, he doesn't have that tattoo in any other part of the movie--many of which happen later in real time--and that he sees that vision while closing his eyes, I think he's imagining it--not remembering. –  David Harkness May 18 at 1:46
    
Side note about David Harkness's comment: The previous flashbacks about his wife during the color sequences weren't in black-and-white; they were in color. (And some of them happen with his eyes closed, especially the ones when he's talking to Natalie in the diner.) We have seen that his memories of that time are unreliable, though; in particular, we see him pinch her in one flashback and poke her with a needle in another. –  Jed Hartman Sep 29 at 2:30

We never see "I've done it" tattoo before that scene. Its like a conflicted memory to me. I mean their is no time travel in the film and he doesn't have the tattoo in present of previous flashback. So new flashback with that tattoo seems to be effect of Teddy's conversation with him, which might made Leonard doubt his own life.

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check out the 35:29 min of the film , while natalie was touching lenny's chest she asks : and what about here ? lenny answers : maybe its for when i find him

you can clearly see a somewhat of a strange volume in his chest , note that it is in the exact place of his "i've done it" tatto and thats also the place where hes pointing out in that picture teddy took of him when he killed the real john G...

not sure if its important of not but i find it strange that i never saw anyone speaking about this scene, go look at it in youtube or something , not sure if it will be at 35:29 min but its in that scene lenny shows a picture of dodd to natalie and he then steps into her house (in the film is just after the scene where he wakes up in her room , in the chronological order its after he solves the whole dodd problem) btw english is not my mother language so be patient about my grammar.

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