Following (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Prepare to be surprised.

This movie was made for $6,000, using all volunteer talent, shooting every Saturday until they finished.


Makes the famous no-budget El Mariachi seem like the Burton/Taylor Cleopatra, doesn't it?

And it is good. Damned good. The acting is competent, the script is tight, and the editing is sheer genius. By putting the scenes together in exactly the right sequence, and by adding a perfect sore, the director managed to create a truly suspenseful and mysterious movie without any money.


 A jobless man follows people, hoping to get the inspiration he needs to jumpstart his acting career. One day, he's caught, but the guy he was following turns out to be a burglar who is a bit of a voyeur himself. In fact, he doesn't much enjoy burgling. He just enjoys fucking with people's heads. He takes meaningless things while leaving valuables. He takes evidence from one burglary and plants it in the next location. Sometimes he takes and leaves nothing - just moves objects around. He invites the "following" guy to join him as a "burgling" guy. 

But what is really going on here? That's the mystery. And it's a pretty good one. It's only 70 minutes long, but seems feature-length and is masterfully economical, with more than enough twists to please mystery fans.

The DVD is even better than the movie. There is a full-length commentary. There is a second version of the film told in chronological order (the original jumps between three different periods). Or, if you like, you can refer back to the shooting script during any scene, to see how the final product differs from what he wrote. You really couldn't ask for more.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • black and white

  • but a great DVD - see main commentary

When Christopher Nolan finished this movie, and screened it at some festivals, people predicted he would be a major talent.  For once, the pundits were right. Nolan's only other movie was Memento, which may be the best picture of the year 2001. Nuff said.

Nolan is currently working on a remake of Insomnia, a small budget but excellent Norwegian movie from Erik Skjoldbjærg about a big city cop who travels North of the Arctic Circle to help the small-town cops solve a crime, and ends up in a severe psychological breakdown. The first version featured the official omnipresent Scandinavian actor, Stellan Skarsgård. The remake will feature Al Pacino, and will be relocated to Alaska, but still with midnight sun. I'm looking forward to it. I liked the first version a lot, and it seems to be a perfect fit for the type of plot and atmosphere that Nolan likes. 

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews from our usual barometers or Rotten Tomatoes, but you'll find a score of articles at IMDb, many of them from top sources like Washington Post, L.A.Times, and the S.F. papers

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.3 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Top noir mystery, but still a B&W genre film.

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