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Following (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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I have to say, when I read the DVD case and saw that this plot wasn't told chronologically, the first word that came to mind was "gimmick." For "Memento" it made sense to tell things backward, because of the whole memory-impairment center of the story, but here Nolan was doing it again in an earlier movie? I was set to see a sort of warmup run, especially because this one was made with almost no budget at all.
Okay, so I was wrong. "Following" tells a few different lines of the story at once, but it doesn't tell them in reverse; here the idea is that the story's framework is a conversation between our main character and another man who's interviewing him in the opening moments. In the (dryly funny) director commentary, Nolan says he's trying to provide the viewer with details and themes in a "conversational" way. Maybe that's a conceit, but dang it, the mixed up storyline worked on this one too.
Two other common points of the two movies: they're built on incredibly spare, lean writing, and they really, really reward watching at least twice.
Following, if anything, is even more minimalistic than Memento; it's literally true that you come out of the movie not knowing any of the characters' real names.Read more ›
Bill is a struggling writer who has been on his own for quite sometime. During that time he has become very bored and needs to find ways to kill time. He starts to follow people... anybody who seemed interesting to him. At first it was supposed to be a way for him to gather material for characters in his stories, but soon he becomes obsessed and cannot stop following people. Once a thief, Cobb, catches Bill in the act, he decides to allow him to enter his world of robbing houses, showing Bill how to really violate the lives of strangers. Soon everything starts to spin out of control and things for Bill will never be the same as he starts to learn that somebody just might be trying to use him as a decoy.... but a decoy for what? This dark film noir will keep you watching and thinking, even when it's all said and done. Then, you're going to want to watch it again.
Very much like "Memento," Nolan screws around with time, forcing us to remember exactly what has happened and the order they occurred in. However, the movie is not backwards, it is very much out of order in parts, so pay attention to every little detail that you come across. Is this film confusing? Yes, it is, or at least the first time you see it. This is a movie that will require you to watch it at least two times. Although I thought this was a good movie, I was a little disappointed with the length of the movie. It is only 70 minutes long, which isn't very long at all. It's also not widescreen, but I'm sure that' s because it wasn't filmed that way.Read more ›
I saw this film accidentally because I grabbed the box too hastily from the video store, but boy am I glad I did!
Why do I want to review it?
Well, one reason is that I wanted to talk about the first first film made by one of the best directors working today. Another incentive was the presence of actual ideas. Following is unpredictable, and does not use proven formulas. It works because it is genuinely interesting and compelling.
You have probably never heard of the actors involved. The two principals haven't had much of a career since, but I enjoyed their performances. The film is full of mysteries and revelations, so I am not going to talk about everything that happens. Instead, I'll limit most of my comments to things we learn in the opening 10 minutes.
The film grabbed my attention after two minutes during the opening narration by Bill (Jeremy Theobald), who is the main character. He tells us that he's unemployed, and frequently bored and lonely. In order to combat his boredom, he decides to start following people at random. In his own mind, he's an aspiring writer, although he probably views himself that way to justify his miserable existence. He's interested in people and what motivates them. When he's following someone, he has a certain set of rules, such as not pursuing women along dark alleys at night. He's a keen observer, but not a predator of any kind. He follows people of any gender, watches what they do, and then leaves.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as interesting as the write up, the twist at the end made the film.Published 1 month ago by J. Amenta
Nice sequencing and fast pace plot. Crammed full story into 70 miutes. Lived the black and white.Published 3 months ago by H.N.Soriano
The Following is not a bad noir film. While not quite amateur, it is a novice effort -- both imaginative and naive. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3
This movie is awesome! Classic Christopher Nolan masterpiece. I read somewhere this movie only cost $6,000 to make, that alone is impressive and to get this kind of story and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by KP
For the materials used, and the type of budget it had, Nolan's first feature is very engaging. The story is descent, but the way the film is edited elevates it to something... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Phill