Thursday, July 20, 2017

Movie Review: Following

Christopher Nolan's first feature film is filmed in black and white and has an interesting premise, a man follows random strangers to learn about their lives. The young man "Bill" (Jeremy Theobald) confesses his strange hobby to a listener as he lays out different encounters he has following people. His person is to accumulate stories to write about. He makes up rules so as not to get caught following others but when he does follow another man Cobb (Alex Haw), the man confronts him. Cobb takes him on his daily life breaking and entering people's houses just to violate their stuff and learn about them. Bill feels guilty and will often return to interact with the individuals whose house he has entered.

The film's story plays out of order and a viewer can identify which time period it is by the changing appearance of the main character. He is battered and bruised in some scenes and in others, he has long hair and shabby or is well-dressed and clean cut. In the storyline that follows him battered, he is planning a robbery of a bar. In the middle storyline, he woos a blonde woman (Lucy Russell) who he had previously robbed. She has a relationship with an abusive guy who beats up men who owe him money. She is afraid of this man, but she still goes with the main character on a date to a coffee shop and invites back to her place, where he had previously snooped.

The main character breaks into the bar that is owned by the blonde's abusive boyfriend and uses a combination he has written down to open the safe. In the past, Cobb and Bill eat at a restaurant but encounter a woman who caught them in the middle of a burglary. Bill panics and leaves so Cobb advises him to change his appearance. It turns out that Cobb knows the blonde and set him up to pretend to steal her stuff. Bill's heist in the future timeline turns deadly as a man catches him in the act of robbing the safe and Bill uses a hammer to smash his head. It shows how Bill learned the combination of the safe from the Blonde to help her get photos back and Cobb beats him up when Bill tells him that he is involved with the woman they robbed.

Cobb and the blonde conspire to trick Bill who goes ahead with robbing the safe and has to tape it to his body when he doesn't have a bag or anything to carry it. The pictures turn out to be a ruse by the blonde and Bill returns to her angry. She explains that she and Cobb setup him to take the blame for a case that Cobbs was being investigated for. Bill goes to confess to the investigator (John Nolan), which is how the story began. Cobb kills the woman and leaves the hammer so that Bill takes the blame. 

Following shows the potential of Christopher Nolan and his ability to tell a story out of order with a surprising twist ending. The film moves along briskly and isn't too long. It sets up an interesting premise and delivers with a story that keeps on delivering as each piece of new information is given.  Christopher Nolan had more opportunities after this film and has grown his career to tremendous heights, bringing his latest film to the theaters this weekend. 

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