Having become introduced to Christopher Nolan through Memento it is interseting to finally catch his debut, this small budget B&W thriller Following. It's curious to see those Nolan touches in their infancy and that Following comes across as what is essentially a dry run of what would be developed into the more complex and original Memento.
This is not to take anything away from Following, it accomplishes much in it's 70 mins running time. The style though was to become more honed and tweaked with Nolan's next film.
Bill (Jeremy Theobald) follows strangers around London to research a novel he plans to write, the film opens with Bill telling someone who is not revealed till end how his obsession got out of control once he met Cobb. ( Alex Haw)
Cobb becomes aware that Bill is following him and confronts him, Cobb reveals to Bill he's actually a thief and Bill becomes involved with his activities. Eventually this brings him into a web a of deceit,lies and deception.
The twist isn't so much of a sucker punch as something which starts to reveal itself as the film goes on, it's most likely you'll see it coming but Nolan still manages to keep it intriguing and Theobald's performance is effective enough to engage but it is Haw's Cobb which impresses most with his charismatic turn as the guy who always seems in control, you know he's manipulating Bill but it's not until the reveal you realise the true nature of his character.
The B&W feel also adds to the sense of unease and Nolan is already showing his talent as a storyteller and his ability to keep you engaged. A mention to David Julyan's atmospheric score. Yes Memento is a considerable step up, the now typical Nolan narrative is not so smooth but it's still flows well enought to hold the piece together.
Those who came introduced to Nolan through Memento, Batman Begins or The Prestige could do a lot worse than set 70 mins aside to take in his debut and see how as a filmaker he has progressed.
One more note, watch out for the Batman insignia on Bill's front door, maybe a sign of things to come?