Following

Synopsis: Following is a wickedly clever story of how a young man’s obsession with following people leads him into a dark underworld. Bill, the unlikely hero, is a marginalized but intriguing Everyman who follows strangers at random on the street. When Cobb, a man Bill has been following, catches him in the act, Bill is drawn into Cobb’s world of breaking into flats and prying into the personal lives of their victims. In Cobb, Bill finds a strange companion – part mentor, part confessor and part evil twin. With an ingenious structure that involves flash forwards and doubling back, the film tests our knowledge and understanding just as the protagonist is being duped into an elaborate triple-cross. Following heralded Christopher Nolan as a promising new talent whose promise was amply confirmed with Memento.
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Following 7.5

Christopher Nolan’s directorial debut and, as one might expect, it’s a mindbender (i.e. the structure of the film isn’t linear and there are a few twists along the way).

It’s a little simplistic in this case, compared to more complex fare such as ‘Memento’, ‘Inception’ and ‘The Prestige’, but it’s a very good first film – impressive even, considering that it was done on so little budget. It’s one of those films that proves that it’s all in the writing, and that good writing doesn’t cost anything.

In ‘Following’, we are taken into the world of a bored writer who decides to follow people for the simple pleasure of learning about their lives. In doing so, he crosses paths with a thief who proceeds to sucking him into his mischief and teaches him the ropes along the way.

It’s a relatively short piece, so it’s not overly detailed or complex, but it is pieced together very ably and flies by at a decent pace. All the performances are solid – not noteworthy, but all very good (which is, in itself, exceptional for such a low-budget film).

‘Following’ was shot in black and white due to budgetary constraints – Nolan felt that b&w would mask some of the limitations that colour photography would have put to the fore. This choice was fortuitous: it made the film moody, dark, yet compelling; it’s truly impossible to ignore the protagonist’s brisk forays into voyeurism and crime.

All in all, it’s a solid film. It could have been better, granted, but it displays much creativity and sets the groundwork for what would soon become a rather noteworthy career – one that is, thus far, well worth following.

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