Christopher Nolan is now an acclaimed film director, with massive successes such as Memento and The Prestige under his belt. But he began in 1999 with a low budget black and white movie called Following, which is short, sharp and compelling.
I found the premise fascinating. A young wannabe writer gets into the habit of following strangers just ‘to see where they go’. He isn’t really a stalker, just an eccentric loner, and really quite a decent person in many ways – but very naïve. His innocence proves his undoing.
When he follows a young man of a similar age, he finds that the man realises he is being followed, and challenges him. The man is called Cobb, and it turns out that he has another strange obsession. He likes burgling houses, just for the fun of it. And the foolish follower is persuaded to join in the fun, with ultimately fatal consequences.
This is a clever story, with a non-linear narrative that is not easy at first to figure out, but makes pretty good sense in the end. I found it satisfying, and I enjoyed the performance of Jeremy Theobald as the hapless protagonist. No wonder this creepy and intricate movie launched Nolan into the Premier League of directors of complex suspense movies.