Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #30: Following (1998)

A very interesting thing happened after I saw Inception at the cinema recently.

After a standard post-movie discussion with my accompanying friends, I came to a remarkable realization: Inception is probably the coolest movie I've seen since The Dark Knight.

(OK, OK, with the possible exception of Kick-Ass [see Pose Reviews A Movie #28]).

But certainly, Inception brought me to the stunning but truthful realization that Christopher Nolan's latest film is the most impressive movie I've seen since...Christopher Nolan's last film.

And so, I've decided to treat myself to a flat-out Christopher Nolan binge. And as such, I've gone ahead and taken things from the top.

Following is his first feature, from 1998, and depicts the story of Bill--an aspiring writer with an unusual hobby. Or rather, an unusual hobbyist with an aspiration to be a writer.

You see, Bill's writing takes a back seat (way, way back) to his primary occupation: "following."

Bill is not a stalker in the conventional sense--he makes this very clear in the film's opening.
However, the only thing that differentiates him from an actual stalker is that he is curious, not malicious or dangerous, and he obeys a self-imposed rule never to follow the same person twice.

But, since rules were made to be broken, (and arguably, because films need plots), Bill breaks his own repeat-following rule. And this is how he meets Cobb.

Cobb is a thief. Part con-man, part burglar, he is extraordinarily adept at what he does, and performs his acts of thieving with utmost confidence and skill.

Cobb's confidence is what prompts him to approach his "follower," and his skills are what eventually lead him into taking Bill on as a sort of apprentice.

Cobb shares his tricks of the trade so that Bill can take his affinity for following one step further...and then one step further after that...and then one step further after that...until things really start to get out of control.

Following is a fantastic film, and it showcases Christopher Nolan's roots in dark, brooding characters and premises.

It also provides some interesting foreshadowing into Nolan's later works. Consider the following Fun Facts:

1. Cobb is also the surname of the protagonist in Inception.


2. Bill, the protagonist of Following, has a large and prominent Batman sticker on the front door of his flat.

Looks like Nolan is still following Following even twelve years later!

I'd certainly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of the film noir genre, or likes a good con-artist tale.

My only recommendation is to keep in mind that the story is non-linear. The most confusing element of this choice of narrative style is the frequent changes in Bill's appearance. This threw me for a loop at first, but if you can follow the story (har har), these alterations start to make sense as the film progresses.

Also, for anyone who has difficulty with British accents, I'd go ahead and use the subtitles--no one will fault you for it.

Here's hoping that Following will follow YOU home sometime soon--happy renting!

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