Nolan’s “Following”: A Psychological Thriller about Identity and Illusion

1. Introduction

Christopher Nolan’s second feature film, Following, is a taut psychological thriller that explores the nature of identity and illusion. The film follows the life of a young writer, Bill (Jeremy Theobald), who becomes obsessed with following people. One day, he follows a man named Cobb (Alex Haw), who turns out to be a gangster boss. Bill is then drawn into a world of femme fatales, double-crossing, and melodramatic violence. Although the film is often stagey and stilted, Nolan’s direction creates a sense of unease and suspense that keeps the viewer engaged.

2. Plot

Bill is a young writer who lives a boring, mundane life. In an attempt to spice up his life, he begins to follow people around. He doesn’t interact with them, but simply observes their lives from a distance. One day, he follows a man named Cobb. Cobb is a gangster boss who is involved in all sorts of illegal activities. Bill is soon drawn into Cobb’s world of crime and violence. He meets Cobb’s girlfriend, Miss femme fatale (Marla Adams), who seduces him. She convinces him to help her kill Cobb’s rivals so that she can take over his business. However, things quickly spiral out of control and Billfinds himself in over his head.

3. Characters

– Bill: the protagonist of the film; a young writer who becomes obsessed with following people; he is drawn into Cobb’s world of crime and violence
– Cobb: a gangster boss who is involved in all sorts of illegal activities; he has a girlfriend named Miss Femme Fatale
– Miss Femme Fatale: Cobb’s girlfriend; she seduces Bill and convinces him to help her kill Cobb’s rivals so that she can take over his business
– The Professor: one of Cobb’s rivals; he is killed by Miss Femme Fatale
– The Detective: a police detective who is investigating the murders committed by Miss Femme Fatale

4. Themes

The film explores various themes such as class, identity, voyeurism, and the nature of illusion. Class is explored through the character of Bill, who comes from a working-class background. He is fascinated by the world of crime and violence because it is so different from his own life. Identity is explored through the character of Cobb, who creates an aura of mystery around himself. He wears different disguises and uses different alias’, which makes it difficult for others to know who he really is. Voyeurism is explored through the character of Bill, who becomes obsessed with following people around. He doesn’t interact with them, but simply observes their lives from a distance. The nature of illusion is explored through the character of Miss Femme Fatale, who creates an illusion of being in love with Bill in order to manipulate him into helping her kill Cobb’s rivals.

5. Nolan’s direction

Nolan’s direction creates a sense of unease and suspense that keeps the viewer engaged. He uses handheld cameras to create an intimate feeling between the viewer and the characters on screen. He also uses close-ups and point-of-view shots to create a sense of voyeurism. Furthermore, he uses flashbacks and dream sequences to create a sense of confusion and disorientation.

6. Conclusion

Following is a taut psychological thriller that explores the nature of identity and illusion. The film is well sustained by its intriguing premise and Nolan’s direction.

FAQ

The film's overall plot is about a group of criminals who team up to pull off a heist.

Christopher Nolan uses different techniques to tell the story, such as flashbacks and non-linear storytelling.

The main characters' motivations are to get the money from the heist and to get away with it. Their motivations change throughout the film as they face obstacles and challenges.

This film compares favorably to other films by Christopher Nolan or in its genre because of its unique approach to storytelling and its well-developed characters.