Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Following" (1998) - Movie Review

“The Prestige” is the clear cut message of Christopher Nolan working his films like an illusionist, a magician loving his profession to see the surprises and awes of the audience. “Following” begins that origin of passion coming up in simple characters but a fairly scattered screenplay which knows its path. That is the ingenuity of Nolan’s story telling which has such a bright clarity of the vision the route he takes on. There is a definite ending and a definite suspense which is very ultimately positive to be breathtaking.

Here it meanders through the streets of London through a loner and an aspiring writer whose name wanders between Bill and Danny as he pleases. Jeremy Theobald would not have realized that he is permanently marked in the filmography of someone who would be sweeping the globe revolutionizing blockbusters into sensible films. Here Theobald’s character is the unquenched youth trying to find characters for his writings. That he does through randomly choosing strangers and begin to stalk them with the only purpose of them making into his fiction. This creepy and dangerous tool of his chooses another man Cobb (Alex Haw). Cobb knows what this young man is doing and immediately confronts him. Rather unusually soft to the approach of confrontation. May be there is more to Cobb than a regular stranger the writer has stalked before.

Cobb indeed has more than any one would guess. As the young man, he too has a profound weirdness in his daily activities. He breaks in stranger’s place. Takes random things and does unexplainable changes in these houses. His explanation is the liberation of the unnoticed material in these people’s lives. Cobb becomes the most interesting character in the writer’s upcoming book.

All these details are not laid out for you immediately. There are three time lines happening and each one has different appearances of the writer to denote it. In one he is this long haired genuine burglar candidate. In another he is neatly dressed and smartly cut young man ready to seduce women and the final one the previous hair makeover and beaten up face. Along with this are little details which are given in conversation. There is obviously care in these but not an underlining. An information which peeps out as a casual off hand note.

The film beginning as more of a philosophical inclination becomes into a web of deceit, betrayal and plotting. Yet the departure is smooth and used as a likable distraction. Nolan’s characters does not get three dimensional shape but a pseudo realism into the short story of him. The conversations are something natural. Appears bland but has an agenda of itself. Basically leading to its point in so many way without boring us.

Many might not be blown away by the revelation the film leads us into. But all will agree the completion the film provides which appeared to be quite impossible with the collage of several time lined layering. Everything we see is used as clue and clarity for guiding to the end which makes it solving an equation without any doubts or stumbling.

“Following” apart from this director’s beginning force for a successful career at such a young age has the actors becoming the director’s actors. They do not push themselves out of the edge while keeping them believable in these odd people. They believe each other because the oddity in their actions attracts them and gaining trust without shred of doubt. It is a film which does not strain much but provides a satisfaction rare these days in the production, even in the independent film circuit. Within twelve years, Christopher Nolan has directed some of the best films and most importantly made it widely known without compromising himself. This is where it all began for him and it is a pleasure to watch through it.

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