Christopher Nolan sure loves the reveal at the end of his movies, doesn’t he? From works like Inception and The Prestige, Nolan has built a reputation for the mind-blowing, puzzling films that have confused and awed audiences. After viewing his recent work, even Memento, it is clear his style has not been altered and stems from his first full-length feature, Following.


Filmed in black and white, Following is constructed similarly to Memento. The timeline and series of events are scattered throughout, making it somewhat difficult to understand what is going on, or even when. Our hero, the young man, (Jeremy Theobald, you never learn his name) follows people as a hobby to collect information for characters in his stories that he writes. He is a loner who has no ill intentions with his stalking, but slowly begins breaking his personal rules and boundaries to learn more and more about his targets. He ends up befriending one, Cobb (Alex Haw), a burglar who enjoys psychologically damaging his victims instead of actually robbing them. Cobb teaches the young man how to properly break into an apartment and maintain perfect innocence. Meanwhile we are shown present day and past scenes exposing the young man’s progression into love-struck fool doing anything for the blonde (Lucy Russell, no name given as well), who has her own ulterior motives to befriending the young man.

It wouldn’t be a Nolan film if it weren’t almost unnecessarily complex to describe. The concept of simply following someone for a bit and leaving them alone is actually intriguing due to the results. We pass random strangers each day and have no idea where they are going or what they are doing. The young man wants to know the answers to these questions without hurting or bothering the strangers. Next is the notion of burglarizing a home, but only taking a few things, or misplacing others in order to cause a fight (leaving underwear in the hamper to foster adulterous accusations, etc.). This immediately makes you curious as to how twisted Cobb really is, but the focus is always on the young man.

For the most part, the film stays at a slow pace with a distinct dip in interest halfway through. The film is just over an hour long, but feels much longer during the slow stages after the initial encounter between Cobb and the young man. But, of course, the ending makes the rest almost seem worth it. As the story moves, you realize each scene serves as a carefully placed puzzle piece that gives you one hint of information moving the story to the final result. The best aid I can give you in discerning the timeline is: pay attention to the young man’s appearance. Although this becomes difficult towards the end when we are getting closer to present day.

Following is fun and interesting in its own right, but hindsight is truly twenty-twenty. If it had not been for Nolan’s success since Following, I don’t think it would have been worth viewing, despite the strong ending. The entire film has a practice run feel to it, as it sets up the cerebral Memento. If you are a fan of Nolan’s, then Following is a must-see for its insight into his style. For the rest of you, a great ending cannot make up for a relatively boring film.

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