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Following

Year: 1998
Production Co: Next Wave Films
Director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: Christopher Nolan/Jeremy Theobald/Emma Thomas
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell

I loved Requiem For a Dream and The Fountain, but that didn't mean I automatically loved Pi, which I found sloppily paced and ugly thanks to the cheap stock. I've seen Nolan's debut feature in the opposite order to Aronofsky's career, but I never expected to find a film from the director of The Dark Knight or Inception just ho-hum.

A young writer takes to spontaneously following strangers to imagine their lives and give him inspiration and a break from his work. But he's not as secretive as he thinks he is. When the man he's watching one day comes across the café where they're both sitting, challenging him and asking what he wants, they get talking, his quarry explaining he's a hobbyist burglar and inviting him along. The hero soon falls under the sway of the thrills offered by the task, but there's deeper intrigue going on.

We also see him hanging around a classy bar with a pretty lady (at least I realised eventually it was him with a haircut – that's how rough the film stock was) who seems to be the 'property' of the mobster bar owner.

It doesn't stop the hero falling for her and we watch the parallel stories unfold before they converge. To reveal how would be to give the whole thing away, but it's inventive storytelling on a par with Pulp Fiction and it's the sort of thing Nolan would really flex his muscles with in Memento a few years later.

None of that stops it being fairly plodding and a little dry and cold, a lack of emotion that would become a hallmark later in Nolan's career. It's when he has nothing to rely on but character that we see his weakness for characterisation clearly.

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