Reviewed January 3rd, 2002 by David Nusair
Before there was Memento, there was Following. Shot on a shoe-string budget in and around England, Following contains many of the same themes writer/director Christopher Nolan explored in Memento Ė identity, deception, and unrequited love. But (most notably) Following is similar to Memento in that it toys with the audience by shifting the timeline away from the linear, a technique which is at first confusing but eventually incredibly satisfying.
The storyline of Following is almost impossible to discuss without giving some pivotal plot point away, but hereís a truncated synopsis: An aimless young man spends his days following people around, just to see what theyíll do with their day. He eventually finds himself following one particular man around, until the man confronts him. It turns out that heís a thief, and isnít terribly upset by the fact that heís been stalked for the last couple of weeks. He offers the young man the chance to accompany him on a few jobs. To say any more would be unfair and downright cruel.
Nolanís first feature was obviously shot on a minuscule budget Ė the filmís in grainy black and white, there are no recognizable actors, etc. Ė but it manages to be just as fascinating and compelling as Memento was (if not quite as polished). The first half hour seems to be a simple story of a guy with way too much free time on his hands, but as we soon discover, thereís a lot more going on than is initially revealed. Nolan takes his time peeling back the layers (and plays around with our notions of whatís in the present and what isnít in a big way), but when everything is laid out Ė itís a stunner.
And it makes sense, too. Unlike some other flicks that have had this sort of labyrinth structure, Nolanís made sure that everything works (same as he did with Memento). Itís the sort of film (again, like Memento) that demands a second viewing, just so you can see what sort of hints Nolan dropped along the way.
Audio: Included is a 2.0 DD soundtrack and itís acceptable. This is a movie thatís driven by dialogue, and this track reflects that. There are virtually no ambient sounds, nor are there any surround-heavy sequences. But the ample dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand, so what more can you ask?
Video: Following is presented full-frame. Given that it was shot on such a low-budget, the movie is understandably quite grainy. But the quality of the DVD itself appears to be spotless.
Extras: First up is a commentary track from Nolan. Not surprisingly, he turns out to be a thoroughly intelligent and engaging fellow. He talks about all the various facets of his film, from the complicated structure to shooting on a low-budget. Itís a shame, then, that he didnít record a commentary track for Memento; if it had been as compelling as this one, itíd have really added to that disc. If you hit your multi-angle button, youíll be able to listen to the movie (or commentary) while reading the script. This is a good feature, and one that I think would be welcome on more discs. Next up is the opportunity to watch the film in chronological order. This is a good feature, I suppose, but why would you want to watch it this way? Finally, there are some cast and crew bios, along with trailers for Following and Memento.
Conclusion: Following is definitely worth checking out if you saw Memento and loved it; however, if you disliked that film, this probably wonít appeal to you.
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