Movie of the Month: Following (Christopher Nolan, 1998)
Following is a lean little movie (69 minutes) that's clearly made on a shoestring budget, but first-time director Christopher Nolan knew what he was doing as far as plot, tension and language were concerned. This black-and-white film full of no-name actors won't catch the eye of the average viewer, but it's well worth pulling up on Netflix streaming to see the humble beginnings of a man who would become one of America's premier directors within less than a decade.
The Young Man (Jeremy Theobald, and yes, "The Young Man" is the character's name) has an obsession with following strangers, just to see who they are and what they do. He makes the mistake of following Cobb (Alex Haw, in his one and only film credit), who believes the young man to be a cop about to nail him for his own fetish: breaking into houses and leaving traces of activity, though never stealing anything of note. The Blonde (Lucy Russell, the most consistently working actor in this film, though you won't recognize her) figures into the story with both men, but the more I tell you, the more I ruin.
Following is told out of order, and essentially is about a man with one great flaw who's being used by other people in ways he can't imagine, and he doesn't have long to figure out how. Nolan would soon tell a similar story (Memento) on a much bigger stage and become a household name. His strengths then remain his strengths now, although his one big weakness - his inability to connect the viewer with his characters emotionally, and not just with the plot - remains an unfortunate hole in his game today. Still, he's one of America's great directors, and Nolan completists shouldn't miss this one, especially with the very short running time.
Otherwise it's been a lean viewing month at Casa de Leche, what with the moving and stuff, although I've also been watching the fantastic British cop show Luther, starring Idris Elba (The Wire's Stringer Bell). It's also on streaming and definitely recommended to fans of cop dramas, and of Elba. The supporting cast is dynamite as well.
What have you seen?