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In the scene in the auto parts store where Jack confronts Sandy, he asks her to write down the name of the guy who hired her (Jeb?). However at several points in the movie they make a specific point to show that he doesn't need to write things down to remember them.

  • He remembers the serial number from the sniper rifle after specifically stating that he doesn't need to take notes.

  • He specifically states that he doesn't need to write down the quarry address.

Is this simply a small plot oversight, or was he making a point when he asks Sandy to write the address down?

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    If he a photographic memory, the address has to be seen (written) to allow him to see it and if it was said by oral, he may forgets it.
    – Larme
    Dec 29, 2013 at 7:43
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    @Larme perhaps I used the term wrong but your hypothesis is not consistent with the way it is presented in the movie. He makes a specific point of saying that he doesn't need to write down the quarry address to remember it when it is spoken to him.
    – DQdlM
    Dec 29, 2013 at 12:48
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    @Larme ... Slightly off topic here, but in actuality having a photographic ("eidetic" is the actual term) memory is not all about seeing. It can be heard and recalled just the same. Dec 29, 2013 at 17:30
  • @Paulster2 : I didn't know that part of photographic memory. I always thought it was visual only.
    – Larme
    Dec 29, 2013 at 18:33
  • Maybe it was so he could see and then later recognize her handwriting. Or the letterhead was important...It's been awhile since I saw it. I don't specifically remember what happens later.
    – Ben Plont
    Dec 30, 2013 at 2:07

2 Answers 2

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Jack Reacher's creator does state that Reacher has a photographic memory

He also has a photographic memory and a keen eye for details that ordinary investigators overlook.

Source

I've watched the scene with Jack and Sandy twice and I can't pickup any reason why he asked her to write it down. He barely looks at it and we don't get to see it. He doesn't do anything with the paper later on either.

I did notice that she continues to talk while she writes it down though. This may have been to not bore the audience with her rambling off an address that would be unimportant to the viewers. It was also a more natural scene (as you and I would have played it out). The scene with the quarry address seemed more like posturing than to show off his great memory. He was trying to intimidate the other guy after all.

Unfortunately I've looked a great deal and there just doesn't seem to be any specific reason so I can only offer speculation that he may have intended to give the paper to someone else (possibly a deleted scene?).

Edit: I've been reading the book and in the book, reacher doesn't get the address from Sandy, he gets it from Gary. He forces Gary to pull Jeb's employment file and get the address from it which would require Gary to write it down.

The scene with Sandy was quite a bit different in the movie than the book, so it looks like they combined the two interactions from the book into a single one with Sandy.

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    He needs to have the address in order to remember it. Asking her to write it down is natural and what any person would normally do. His memory means he doesn't need to keep the paper not that he would just ask her to say it rather than write it down.
    – matt_black
    Apr 14, 2023 at 13:16
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The obvious reason was to protect his real identity. A good memory could give his enemies clues on him beeing a trained agent, and blow his cover. His real identity was Jack Reacher. Sandy was already on to him. In the bar where she was about to make a "he called me hooker" drama, Sandy didnt believe Jimmie was his real identity. "You dont look like a Jimmie". He did not want to give her any clues that would disclose who he was. He had cycled through all the presidents and vice presidents long ago and was now using second basemen from the Yankees' nonchampionship years and checked into the hotel as Jimmie Reese. Its btw a real name, Reese was born James Herman Solomon and was Jewish, in order to avoid the brunt of prejudice against Jewish baseball players, he adopted the name of Jimmie Reese. Now, the really strange thing was Sandy giving up her real name to Reacher, whom she was about to set up. It undelines that she was an amature out of her comfort zone, but he was 100% pro.

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    Hi, welcome to Movies & TV. Lots of people have good memories, especially if they're specifically paying attention. (Even I could probably remember an address that was spoken to me if I really wanted/needed to.) Is there any other evidence that he's actively trying to hide his knowledge/abilities? (Note that you should stay focused on the answer; the digression about his aliases is diverting, but not ultimately on point.)
    – DavidW
    Apr 11, 2023 at 16:58
  • Yes, well, 5 people had been killed and with the perps loose, obviously he would be wise to be extremely careful about his identity and whereabouts. Sandy asked him, after giving him the adress & the keys to Jebs car, who are you? He answered, just a guy who wants to be left alone. She even offers to date him. She is a dead 10, but he rejects to stay anonymous and not involve her more. He warns her against staying, implying that the situation was very dangerous. He knows hes up against murderers. Again, he withheld any information that could give her any clues to who he is. Apr 12, 2023 at 15:53

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