Following — Nolan’s Neo-Noir Debut
Films with plot twists are always a pleasure to watch. They keep engaging our gray matter to find the key for the closed doors, behind which lies the answers. Scene after scene they set us on a hunt, looking for the possibilities, within the fences of sanity.
“Following“, a film by Christopher Nolan is one such riveting brain game backed by an intelligent screenplay, which engages the detective in you, to unlock the secrets till the end. It was not even a full-length feature film. It is just a lengthy short film, of sorts, running for just 69 min. Yet, the story is leaves no loose ends and is gripping.
After the open credits, showing some extreme close ups coupled with heart throbbing music, the film opens with Bill ( Jermy Theobald) confessing to an old chap in a low lit room, what seems to be a cabin in an office. In his confession he reveals his habit of following people. He, an aspiring writer, is interested in studying people, for material. Therefore, he follows them at random.
He follows his arbitrarily chosen subjects whom he finds odd and peculiar, for a while. He learns their whereabouts and activities, so that he could use them, while he designs the characters for his fictions. With some self imposed rules- not to follow the same person twice, for instant-
He engages himself with his following.
During one of his usual prowl, he eyes on a bloke carrying a bag, finds him interesting, and tails him to a restaurant. Unexpectedly the other guy smells that he is being followed and confronts Bill.
The other guy shoots his questions straight. Unable to tackle him head on, he starts divulging his details. He introduces himself as Bill and the other guy introduces himself as Cobb (Alex Haw). Bill learns that Cobb is a pilfer, who breaks in houses. What interests Bill here is the reason Cobb gives for his petty loots.
Cobb astonishes Bill to such an extent that he joins with Cobb. This duo slips into homes and Cobb explains things to Bill as if he is a psychoanalyst. He gives lengthy explanations to Bill for his actions. Slowly the rebellious, dauntless young man Cobb becomes Bill’s Godfather. They sneak into empty homes and go on with their adventures.
Bill sees a blonde (Lucy Russell) in a bar. She says she is a sweetheart of the owner of the bar, a wealthy, ruthless chap. Bill, however, gets involved with her as days roll on. They roam together in places that would not come under the scan of that bald headed bar owner. One day while Bill asks her about her inability to leave the bald man, she unveils that he is blackmailing her, with some photos in his custody.
Promising that he’ll free her by stealing those snaps, Bill plots burglary. As usual, he seeks Cobb’s assistance, which he gives right away. The snaps are preserved in a safe in the bad guy’s bar and Bill makes his attempts. Things turn nasty and the dice are set to roll, showing up chances beyond the probabilities.
Bill had done everything sticking to Cobb’s plan, yet soon finds himself in jeopardy. Soon he learns that everything was a ploy to get him into the trap, perfectly planned by his girlfriend and Cobb. When Bill finds that, his girlfriend had betrayed him too, he opts to explain everything to the cops. He does this to keep himself off the danger zone. That is where scene-1 actually begins. Only after he meets the cop, he learns that he has been trapped inescapably. He now faces the- pray- turns-bait situation.
“Following” is analyzed in a detailed manner in the next part.