There are feature film debuts by big famous directors that always shine towards the audience. Following is one of them. It shines because it has a very complicated film structure for a no budget film.
The film is about a struggling unemployed writer named Bill. He is trying to look for inspiration for his book. To do that, he follows strangers on the busy streets of London. That gets out of hand, when he meets a man named Cobb. That’s all I am going to write about the plot, because I want you to see this movie as fresh as you possibly can.
The film stars unknown actors, who are actually real life friends of Christopher Nolan. They did the necessary no budget filmmaking and got to tell a great story.
The first time I saw Following was back in 2010, right after I saw Inception on the big screen for the first time in July 2010. The reason I saw this film is because I fell in love with Christopher Nolan movies. I fell in love on how he approaches on telling a story.
The film conforms to the disrupted narrative by telling the story in different sections. So there is one scene where it involves Bill as a struggling writer and then we see him as this well suited thief. It is not a spoiler as it happens in the first fifteen minutes.
The cinematography is very shaky and hand held. That is due to with the no budget filmmaking. Christopher Nolan stated in the DVD commentary that he hold the camera himself. It is also shot entirely in black and white as well. This works effectively for giving the noir look of the film. As you have two anti heroes (Bill and Cobb) and a femme fatale. It conforms to the noir genre, as it involves those character archetypes.
Nolan admitted of filming in black and white is to help with lighting. It is so amazing that even a slight use of black and white can help make the film work entirely. There are scenes involving a club and many houses. Since it is no budget filmmaking, they had no lighting, so Nolan had no choice but to film in black and white. It works to give the noir look, so Nolan was thankful for that.
I found it interesting on how Christopher Nolan got inspired for writing the script for this film. He said that his house got burgled and he wondered what where they were thinking when they were robbing the house. From then on, he got inspired that from that in order to write the script. I found that so inspiring, because being an aspiring filmmaker myself makes you appreciate on how inspiration can hit you at such desperate matters.
Also, cannot forget that the character of the thief in this movie is named Cobb. Coincidentally, Inception also has a thief named Cobb. Maybe intentional, maybe coincidental, but is interesting to see that the name and character type exists in Nolan’s later film.
The soundtrack by David Julyan is also an important aspect of the movie. It gives the beautiful ambience of the film. It feels heavily mainstream to be honest. I didn’t see a British feel to it, despite the fact that the entire film was shot in Central London. I was so satisfied that it didn’t have the typical cliche Britishness involved such as football hooligans. If it did, then the film’s music score would have been more clubby and techno. When you hear the music, you can sense the similar ambience effect used in Nolan’s later films, especially The Dark Knight Trilogy. Coincidence? Maybe.
For a film that is just over an hour, it is paced very well. I was glued onto the screen as I wasn’t bored at all. This is why I admire Christopher Nolan as a director and as an auteur. His trademark are featured here for the first time of course, but you see them later on in his later movies. Main example being involving anti heroes as the leads. Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy and Cobb from Inception are anti heroes.
Overall, this is a must see for all fans of Christopher Nolan and just film fans in general. If you love to be mind bended for a no budget, black and white film, then Following is definitely for you. Please do watch this film, if you love movies. It won’t disappoint you at all. Also, fun fact, watch out for the batman logo at the door. Found it very strange that you see that in a Nolan film and then seven years later, he directs Batman Begins. Again, it’s just curiosity that hits you, is it coincidental or not? Something to think about after you have seen the movie.