Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
I’ve always been a fan of watching famous director’s early films. Partly because it humanizes them–they didn’t always have huge budgets and A-list actors at their disposal– but also because it shows how much, or how little, they’ve changed over the years. Sometimes, like with Martin Scorsese’s The Big Shave, there’s nothing in these early works that indicates who made them. Other times, as with the subject of today’s review, Christopher Nolan’s Following, it is extremely apparent who helmed these pictures, and that these filmmakers haven’t changed their style or subject matter that much over the years.
The story of a struggling writer who begins stalking people, ostensibly for inspiration, Following possesses many of Nolan’s trademark characteristics, including philosophical dialogue, non-linear narratives, morally ambiguous characters, and examinations of memory and perception. It also has a few moments that unintentionally predict the future. In one scene, for instance, the main character and his friend break into a house that has the Batman logo on the front door. They never comment on it, but the logo is extremely visible in the background throughout the entire scene, almost as though Nolan knew, back in 1998, that he would direct arguably the greatest series of Batman films a mere seven years later.
But beyond the simple novelty of it being a now famous directors early work, Following does stand on its own as an effective thriller. For starters ,the acting is very good. Everyone has energy. Everyone has passion. You can really tell that these performers are giving it their all. It’s even more impressive when you consider that none of the cast were professionals, and that they made this film for $6,000 while still working day-jobs. The pacing is also quite good. This is a quick, lean picture, with a running time of just about 70 minutes. Some people might think that’s too short, but, honestly, I believe movies should only go on for as long as they need to, and Following didn’t need to be any longer than it is. And, finally, the film looks really good. It’s entirely in black and white, which, apparently, was done as a cost-cutting measure, but it actually fits the genre and tone of the film. It helps bring to life the seety, noir-ish world that Nolan is trying to create, and I quite liked the way everything looked.
So if you want to see a small, well-crafted thriller, which just so happens to be made by a now famous director, give Following a look. I guarantee you’ll have a good time.