×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Following

A fairly clever neo-noir exercise, Christopher Nolan's debut feature is both distinguished - as a Brit production - and compromised by its very Amerindie feel. Low-budget, B&W 16mm format lends a gritty edge that isn't quite justified by limited character depths, nor by a quite engaging, if imperfectly realized, suspense story that might work better in a more commercial framework.

With:
The Young Man - Jeremy Theobald
Cobb - Alex Haw
The Blonde - Lucy Russell
The Policeman - John Nolan

A fairly clever neo-noir exercise, Christopher Nolan’s debut feature is both distinguished – as a Brit production – and compromised by its very Amerindie feel. Low-budget, B&W 16mm format lends a gritty edge that isn’t quite justified by limited character depths, nor by a quite engaging, if imperfectly realized, suspense story that might work better in a more commercial framework. Not quite punchy (and barely long) enough for theatrical play, it’s good fest and calling-card fare.

Protag Bill (Jeremy Theobald) – closing credits spell out his genre-archetypical nature as just “The Young Man” – is a 30-ish would-be writer “between jobs,” living in a student-type hovel. For lack of any prospects or better ideas, he begins “shadowing” complete strangers around London, allegedly to “gather material for my characters.” In actuality, it’s simple, and fast-addictive, voyeurism.

Bill soon gets into trouble when he violates his “cardinal rule” never to never follow the same person twice. Dapper-looking Cobb (Alex Haw) duly notes his tailgater, and confronts the suddenly humiliated Bill. Turns out, however, that Cobb is “like you, interested in people” – he breaks into strangers’ apartments, as much to poke around their personal effects and upset their complacency as to burgle for cash. Though queasy, Bill can’t resist this new, heightened form of spying.

Meanwhile, pic keeps flashing forward, revealing certain consequences (a police interrogation, a badly beaten Bill, his romance with a latter-day gangster’s moll) well before we glean what instigated them. As Bill gets in deeper, events accelerate. He’s led to rob a safe for aforementioned blonde (Lucy Russell), but that ends disastrously, and she proves complicit in an elaborate ruse in which Bill won’t be the sole victim.

Climactic triple-cross is a satisfying payoff, though scenarist-helmer Nolan doesn’t really sock across any possible point of emphasis – black humor is soft-pedaled, suspense just middling, and the character writing keeps classic fall guy Bill a bit too blank-slate to incur much sympathy. Nor does the tricky structure unfold as ingeniously as it might. Result is entertaining, but material doesn’t develop the full, edgy potential that similar paranoid-triangle efforts like “Shallow Grave” or “The Last Seduction” realized.

Given clearly modest resources, perfs and tech package are polished. If the I-made-this-feature-for-next-to-nothing story isn’t already too old-hat, Nolan certainly merits applause for creating a decent little debut on a $ 6,000 budget , shooting exclusively on weekends.

Following

British

Production: A Christopher Nolan production. Produced by Nolan, Jeremy Theobald, Emma Thomas. Directed, written by Christopher Nolan.

Crew: Camera (B&W, 16mm), Nolan; lighting, Barbara Stepansky, Ivan Cornell; editors, Gareth Heal, Nolan; music, David Julyan; art director, Tristan Martin; sound, Cornell, David Lloyd, Julyan, James Wheeler. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, April 27, 1998. Running time: 69 MIN.

With: The Young Man - Jeremy Theobald
Cobb - Alex Haw
The Blonde - Lucy Russell
The Policeman - John Nolan

More Film

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content