One of those films was Christopher Nolan’s debut film, Following. The noir-style film centres around a young writer, Bill (Jeremy Theobald), who follows people on the street trying to imagine what their lives are like. One day the tables are turned on the writer when one of his subjects, Cobb (Alex Haw), confronts him about his following habit. Cobb, a local burglar, strikes up an unlikely friendship with Bill and decides to teach him the tricks of the burglary trade. Bill immediately becomes infatuated with the mysterious blond (Lucy Russell) whose London apartment they burglarize. Soon Bill finds himself in way over his head as his growing relationship with the secretive blond has him risking his life for a woman he hardly knows.
Christopher Nolan is a director who has made a career of mixing strong storytelling with big budget sensibilities. While his debut film, Following, may not have the large scale of his later works, its intelligence more than makes up for its lack of budget. The film plays out in non-chronological order which allows Nolan to play with the audiences assumptions of what is going on.
One of the subtle aspects of the film that works so well is how all the little details fall into place. There is nothing in this film that does not carry some significance. Even small moments, such as when Bill casually looks inside a piano bench, reveal themselves to be rather important. Following is all about embracing these subtle moments instead of grander thrills that are often found in higher profile productions.
Some will find the pacing of the film extremely slow, but the payoff is well worth the build-up. Following is a film that slowly draws the viewer in and provides more than enough intrigue to maintain their attention. Following is not only a strong directorial debut, but it rivals some of Nolan’s more well known films.