Yes, still January
The first film from any director you like
"Everyone has a box."
Or so tells Cobb, a skilled burglar, to his protegé of his victims' desire for privacy, secrecy, and intimacy. The "boxes" in question are meant to hold not only things that are dear to people, but also things that people feel that represent them and define them. The line might be taken from John Steinbeck's East of Eden
, which says "nearly everyone has his box of secret pain, shared with no one". Considering Nolan's frequent literary inspirations, I don't think it's a long shot. The aforementioned thief, Cobb, revels in finding out about people's "secrets" and ultimately, in bringing them out to light, which is the premise of Christopher Nolan's neo-noir, debut film.
focuses on the above mentioned protegé (played by Jeremy Theobald), a young, struggling writer that decides to "follow" random people in order to draw inspiration for his writings. Eventually, he finds himself confronted by Cobb (Alex Haw), who takes the young man under his wing not only on a quest to "follow", but to get inside people's lives as they commit a series of seemingly random burglaries and break-ins. Cobb, who doesn't seem to be interested in the material stuff, claims to be more interested in the emotional and psychological effect his burglaries might have on his victims: "You take it away, and show them what they had", he says. The young man ends up caught up in the thrill of it, while also seeking a relationship with one of their victims.
Even though I still haven't seen Interstellar
, and even though I'm not as much of a fan of The Dark Knight
trilogy as most people, I still consider myself a fan of Nolan work. I love Memento
and The Prestige
, and although I haven't revisited them in a while, I enjoyed both Inception
a lot. Watching Following
, you get a chance to see many of Nolan's frequent themes and ideas come to be. Whether it's the subject of trust, and the trust his characters put in objects and physical things (a picture? a top spin? a journal?), or how most of his characters end up losing themselves, their identities and/or their sanity, as they get deeper and deeper into whatever they're doing.
brings all of that to the table, with a finely crafted, broken chronology (which is another Nolan trademark). The echoes of Memento
, or rather the impact this one had on it, are fairly evident as the story follows some similar paths of deceit and lies. Theobald and Haw are solid as the leads, but this film relies mostly on its style and structure. Take that away, and you're left with a pretty conventional story. But, much like Cobb, Nolan knows how to draw the unsuspecting viewers inside his web and pull the rug from beneath us in the end, sometimes more than once. And when that happens, you're more or less left like the characters, looking back at everything and wondering how the hell he managed to get the best out of us.