Following from a Nascent Nolan

While innovative, hugely popular big budget blockbusters are Christopher Nolan’s staple these days, life wasn’t always so glamorous for the English director. Sixteen years ago, Nolan made his foray into feature-length filmmaking with the ultra-low budget (£3,000) Following.

This often forgotten gem of an independent film is unquestionably nascent Nolan. Watching Following in the context of his subsequent productions offers a fascinating insight to the director’s burgeoning thematic preoccupations and filmmaking techniques. Many of those ideas recur in his work to this day.

Warning: Spoilers for Nolan’s entire body of work follow from here.

Following (1998)


One Nolan’s most prominent hallmarks is his use of overt exposition. Both techniques are immediately noticeable in Following. The opening sequence of panning shots through crowded streets is overdubbed with the protagonist explaining his peculiar hobby to the audience:

“The following is my explanation. I’d been on my own for a while… and that’s when I started shadowing. Shadowing – following. I started to follow people.”

The unemployed protagonist, a nameless wannabe writer (“the Young Man”), finds himself taking up the titular pastime for both voyeuristic pleasure and writing inspiration.

Following (1998)

One of these “shadowing” excursions ends when his target, Cobb (Alex Haw) – a sharp dressed, barbed tongued man frothing with equal amounts charm and condescension – confronts him. After an initially frosty exchange, a mutual intrigue emerges between the opposing personas…read the rest of the article at Movie Fail.