Following This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 8, 2012
Today, Christopher Nolan is one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood. With blockbusters like “Inception” and various Batman installments, he has become one of the industry's most recognized filmmakers. But there was a time when Nolan was an aspiring director who wrote, directed, produced, and edited a film with virtually no budget. One such film is “Following.”

This stylized neo-noir shot in black-and-white centers around a young down-on-his-luck writer referred to only as “The Young Man” (Jeremy Theobald), who follows random strangers on the streets in order to gain inspiration for his writing. When he breaks his first rule not to follow anyone more than once, he finds himself in the company of Cobb (Alex Haw), a suave yet enigmatic thief. Cobb does not steal for gain, but rather to look through his victims' personal items, like pictures and letters in order to gain insight into their personalities. As the Young Man accompanies Cobb on his burglaries and eventually befriends him, he finds himself drawn into a web of deceit, corruption, and blackmail.

Despite its budget, “Following” is great. It is stylish, sophisticated, clever, and moody. Its story line is full of twists, and the characters are intriguing and multilayered, particularly Alex Haw, who, as Cobb, oozes charisma and intrigue.

Although made in 1998, Nolan's directing style is evident, from the non-linear story line (used in later films like “The Prestige”) to the inevitable twist ending. “Following” manages to masterfully emulate early, hardboiled noir films like “The Big Sleep” in its use of light and darkness and recognizable archetypes (the blonde bombshell, the crooked club owner, etc.), but it also adds a modern twist to the classic story.

Although the non-linear story line is hard to follow at points, and the dialogue is slow, “Following” is a well-done psychological thriller that foreshadowed the career of a great director. I give it a 6.5/10.

This film is rated R.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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