Following (1998)

(On DVD, March 2016) Most black-and-while no-budget independent movies of 1998 have faded in obscurity by now, but Following has one crucial distinction: It’s the first full-length feature film by now-famous auteur Christopher Nolan, and considering Nolan’s rabid fan base, it doesn’t take all that much effort to find on DVD these days. Quite a bit of the attention is warranted: From an unusual beginning (a bored writer starts following people by accident, but is discovered by a sophisticated thief with existential motives), the film plays with chronology, motivations and allegiances. It eventually turns full-noir with femme fatale, elaborate double-crosses and greed-inspired plots. Making the most out of visibly limited means, Following works best as a promising calling card from a filmmaker busting to do better. While it directly influenced latter movies such as Memento (in its fractured chronology and noir affiliation), it still stands apart in the Nolan oeuvre so far. Following does have some entertainment value beyond simply being “Nolan’s first movie”—and at less than 80 minutes, it’s not as if it overstays its welcome.

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