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Monday, April 25, 2011

Following - 1998

Being Christopher Nolan's first ever big screen film, I was surprisingly kind of disappointed in Following. I had seen five other Nolan films before this, and even though I believe Nolan is slightly overrated, Following really fell short for me. Considering the very short length of the film, this will be a fairly short review. And that was my biggest problem in the end. I think the plot and story to Following may possibly be the best Nolan has done yet, but he seemed to have such a childish vision of the film himself. I mean, it was hardly over an hour long, and it has a story that could have been over two hours. Needless to say, both the story and characters were underdeveloped, which is not the first time I have noticed this in a Nolan film. It looks to me as if Nolan works unusually hard on his films, and I even read that he began working on Inception ten years before it was made, and still there was no character developement in that film either. The more I watch Christopher Nolan, the more I believe that his career is fixing to drop, starting with The Dark Knight Rises. He already messed up the title. I truly hope that I am wrong about that, as I want Nolan to do well, but I do not feel that I am.

Following is a film about a poor writer that is looking for new dieas for his stories, so he gets the brilliant plan of following people around and learning about their life, helping to inspire new characters. But his main rule is that whenever he learns of where someone lives, he quits following them and never looks for them again. However, one day our main character comes across a man he had been following, who figured out the young man's scheme. He turns out to be a robber, convincing the writer to assist in some of his robberies. This leads the stories lead through a lot of trouble, and soon he will realize following people in the first place was probably not a good idea.

I must admit, even though I do not love Christopher Nolan as some do, he is undeniably brilliant at creating a great ending, with the exception of his newest film. Following was actually one of his stronger finishes in my opinion, as I was about to rate this film at 2 stars, but the ending changed my mind. The direction is still good, and the film is still unpredictable, and it by the end works out. But as I mentioned, the film is drastically damaged by its short length. The cast does a very good job, surprisingly too, since I had not heard of any of the actors. Jeremy Theobald is perfectly innocent in playing the lead with no name, another thing I liked about the film. Alex Haw was good as well, playing Cobb, though at times I did not love some of his script. The entire cast did a good job really, one thing you can expect from every Nolan film.

Overall, Following is probably Nolan's weakest film, which is actually saying something for the man's career so far. The short length hurts it, but great acting, a good screenplay, and strong direction combined with a fantastic ending make this film worth the watch. I liked it, but Nolan has done better no doubt.

Rating: 7/10


  1. Interesting review, Matt!
    I'm curious, though, why give it a 3? It seems that you kinda hated it based on the first paragraph.

  2. Nice review :) I'm not much of a Nolan aficionado either - I only really know him from The Batman films and Inception, but I did watch Prestige the other day and I felt really let down by the ending of that. Agree with the character development in Inception (even though I loved the film as a whole) - especially Ellen Page's character!

  3. Jericho - Well, it wasn't that I hated it, it's just that with the story I felt Nolan and his talent could have made I film a league ahead of Inception, or even some of his other films, but with the one hour length it was hurt terribly. The ending and acting were great though, and it was overall entertaining. Thanks for reaing! :)

  4. Thanks! I like all of his films, but some seem to think he is on his way to being the greatest director ever, which I highly disagree with. Also, some make comments like "Nolan has consistency matched by no director ever" and I find that to be childish. The Prestige though, is my second favorite film of his. I personally loved the ending, but nowhere near as brilliant as Memento, that is a film that I think to be (by far) his finest. Thanks for the read! :D

  5. I guess I'm a fan of just only one director. Who is Christopher Nolan. Naturally, I can't really agree with you. I thought his weakest movie was Insomnia. As for Following, on the contrary, I was impressed because in 70 minutes and for ultra-low budget, he created a great story on screen. However, I truly enjoyed reading this review, some interesting points. Well done!

  6. Well obviously most love him more than me, so I have no place to criticise. I have not seen Insomnia, that is the only one, but I have it so will be watching soon. I feel Following was impressive at moments, but I loved the idea of the film so much the length and development just killed me. And thank you, thank you! I always love readers! :D