Christopher Nolan remains one of today’s hottest directors. He not only resurrected the Batman franchise, but changed what comic book movies could look like with his “Dark Knight” trilogy. He created one of the greatest mind blowing films of all time with “Inception” and no one can forget the movie that made his name, the reverse-ordered “Memento.”
The Criterion Collection released his first movie, “Following,” on Dec. 12 in DVD and Blu-ray edition. The film is similar to “Memento,” in that it is a fractured narrative. Instead of playing the scenes in reverse order, like “Memento” did, “Following” takes the entire movie and plays it completely out of order, like a puzzle. The closest comparison would be Marc Webb’s “500 Days of Summer.”
The film is shot in striking black and white and follows a young man who follows strangers around the streets of London, looking for inspiration for his first novel. He ends up getting involved with a serial thief and then finds himself involved in a murder. The entire movie plays out various scenes from throughout the story until the last piece where the plot all fits into place.
Considering the low budget, and the 16mm film used for the movie, the movie looks amazing. The black and white is crisp and the depth is remarkable. There are two audio tracks, the original mono track and a new 5.1 surround track. While purists might prefer the original mono track, the surround track is great, especially when the music is concerned.
The biggest special feature here is the commentary track with Christopher Nolan. This is a pretty big deal because Nolan doesn’t usually do much in the way of talking about his films. However, this track was recorded in 2001, so there is little talk about more than just “Following,” which is just fine. The discussion is dry at times, but Nolan touches on almost everything you would want to know about the making of the movie.
There is also a 26 minute interview with Nolan, where he talks about making the movie, his memories of the filmmaking process and insights into low budget filmmaking in general. This is a very nice watch with one of the brightest directors in the game.
There is a linear edit of the film, so you can watch it in chronological order, but that really takes a lot away from the experience. There is also a feature to watch the film with the script pages alongside it.
Finally, a Christopher Nolan short film called “Doodlebug” is included in 1080i high definition. The short is about a man chasing an unusual bug and is definitely worth a look to see an interesting short by the filmmaker.
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