Following

Following ★★★½

Filmed piecemeal over the course of a year with periodically purchased rolls of 16mm film, Christopher Nolan's Following is humble and thrifty debut. Reportedly costing under five grand to create, it's a small story of a man seeking inspiration, trailing random individuals who he feels may provoke something within him. It's raw and naturalistic, a gritty piece of neo-noir that often treads within some seriously compelling psychologically mind-bending territories few experienced directors can tap into. But like many debuts, Following is most fascinating within the context of Nolan's career, as a modest and unpolished origin to his evolved aesthetic. Many of Nolan's tentpole devices are still here; mainly the nonlinear storytelling, liquid senses of identity, and emphasis on memory; very obviously Inception in it's infant stage of development. In this vein, Following only confirms the idea that Nolan has maintained his core vision and interests as a film maker, despite the vastly multiplied budgets and audiences. It's an early glimpse of a film maker finding his passions as an artist; the desire to create cerebral blockbusters that both challenge and engage audiences from any demographic. Perhaps the key to understanding the moderately reclusive film maker lies not in his most accomplished works, but rather the ladder he has climbed, the ladder that has ascended him to the top of the cinematic food-chain; rendering Following a film defined as the most intimate way of understanding who Nolan wants to be as an artist. Following is the first rung, the film that allowed Nolan to experiment with form, aesthetic and storytelling; all integral pieces of a film makers abilities. As debuts go, context is everything with this one.

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