Hey there, I’m Jared. I have 726 movies and shows in my Instant Queue and that’s just way too many. I’m not adding anymore movies or shows to it until it’s empty. So, I’m going to start at Number One and work my way down the list and give you guys a choice of the next five in my queue, in order, all the way to the end. But, I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that too. Let’s get to it!
What’s the movie? Following (1998)
What’s it rated? Rated R for shady shadiness, hot noir sexifunk and the sheer insanity of watching people exist.
Did people make it? Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan. Acted by Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell and John Nolan.
What’s it like in one sentence? A modern noir mood piece with early dashes of Nolan’s trademark cleverness.
Why did you watch it? John Livingston, punetracy and The Juror all made valid points about how it was weird for me to be a film geek without checking off all of my Nolan boxes.
What’s it about in one paragraph? The Young Man fancies himself a writer and uses the excuse of character research to follow people as they go about their day. When The Young Man follows an enigmatic gentleman named Cobb, he gets sucked into the dark underworld of gangsters, molls and daylight robbery. Will The Young Man untangle himself from the weblets of dangerosity, or will he succumb to the seductive temptations of Cobb and friends.
Play or remove from my queue? This is actually a pretty great first film that almost feels like a warm up for the next few movies in Nolan’s filmography. Following has the structural shenanigans of Memento, the layered script of The Prestige, the dour feel of Insomnia, the tonal shifts of Batman Begins and the (sometimes) easily accepted plot holes of Inception and The Dark Knight. All of his best habits and all of his worst are on display in Following, but so are some early hints of the Nolan that, whether you agree with it or not, would become one of the most exciting voices in modern filmmaking.
When Nolan is firing on all cylinders, his work seems like an effortless feat of imagination; movies that feel like we’ve always been expecting them without ever truly knowing we needed them. Following is such a breathlessly assured first film that even though the story isn’t quite as smart as it thinks it is, Nolan keeps the pace moving at such a clip that it’s hard not to marvel at his filmmaking prowess. Since Following is so short, it doesn’t have the third act troubles that films like Batman Begins has, but it also doesn’t give some of the film’s final twists much heft. I won’t get into spoilers because the plot does unfold nicely, but there’s a few hurdles Nolan stumbles across here which normally confound him like undercooked romantic subplots and strangely opaque character motivations.
Following is a good watch, nothing spectacular, but nothing to be ashamed of, either. If you think Nolan is overhyped and fatally flawed or whether you think he’s the second coming of Spielberg, this one won’t shift your allegiances either way. The film needs to be judged on its own merits, which are fairly simple and non-flashy. These are 70 minutes you won’t regret spending in Nolan’s fractured fairy tales.
How’s the music? The original score by David Julyan is perfect. Never intrusive and spare enough to feel haunting when used. His work on this plus Cabin in the Woods, Memento and The Prestige makes him one to watch.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? These Amazing Shadows (been meaning to consume this), Oldboy (fucking brilliant), Pi (fucking brilliant), Miller’s Crossing (most brilliant) and Bubble (better than I expected).
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? The budget on this was $6,000 and I think he used every penny wisely. There’s a palpable atmosphere here that’s hard to create with any amount of money.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.9
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.2
Can you link to the movie? As you wish.
Any last thoughts? I can’t tell if I overhyped this or not. I thinks it’s impossible to watch this without the foreknowledge that Christopher Nolan becomes such a groundbreaking director. You should try, though. I know people love to argue about his films and complain about his newest output, but no matter what, Memento is Unfuckwithable. Period.
Did you watch anything else this week? Catching up on The Walking Dead and getting ready to start Falling Skies.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, The Long Good Friday? That long, slow shot of Hoskins in the back seat of the cab in the final seconds is one of the finest moments in film I’ve seen in years. So much is said without a word being uttered. A masterclass on acting with your eyes.
Next Week? Here are the choices:
1) Paranoid Park
2) The Secret of Kells
4) I Like Killing Flies
5) The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
And remember, if five of you tell me to skip something, it gets booted from the list. Sorry about the delays, I promise to do better about consistency.