Ladies and gentlemen, won’t you FOLLOW me in this review?…he-he, get it?…*ahem* anyway, on to the review shall we?
REPPED: From a technical standpoint, Following is perfectly fine. It has a lot of the Nolan flair albeit less refined, which is understandable considering this is one of his first major films. Too many film bros seem to think that black and white makes their film feel more arty farty, but with Following it’s actually appropriate considering the fact that this was made to look and feel like a noir film.
NEGGED: You know you’re watching a Nolan film when the narrative jumps back-and-forth, up-and-down like a rollercoaster. Nonlinear storytelling can work and it has worked in other Nolan films, but it doesn’t feel appropriate for a film like Following. In Roger Ebert’s review for Following, he states: http://Already in “Following” you see Nolan’s affinity for convoluted chronological structure and the final twist, in which all the jigsaw plot pieces snap into place and you finally see the whole picture (along with the main character). You may wonder just how necessary/integral they are, but they help make the film fun to watch, even if they don’t necessarily add up to a whole lot. This is the problem: it doesn’t amount to anything at the end. Following could have played out in a traditional three-act structure and nothing would have been lost or gained. It doesn’t affect the final product, but it feels as if Nolan tries to make a simple story more complex than it needed to be.
FINAL VERDICT: You ever watch a movie that’s competently made, but just doesn’t connect with you for some reason or another? Following is that film for me. If we look at Following as its own piece, it’s nothing particularly memorable, but when you look at it in the context of Nolan’s filmography, this is a blueprint into the kind of filmmaker he’d eventually become. For one, you have Alex Haw’s Cobb who feels like an “early draft” for the Cobb we’d eventually get in Inception: the swagged out infiltrator who’s confident and good at his job. Add a little nonlinear storytelling and a femme fatale and you’ve got yourself a Nolan sandwich! Following may be bottom-tier Nolan, but it’s a confidenty made directorial debut from one of the greatest auteurs of modern cinema.