Following (1997): Chris Nolan's Feature Debut

following following

Christopher Nolan made an impressive feature directing debut in 1997 with the edgy noir, "Following."

The protagonist is Bill (Jeremy Theobald), a young unemployed writer who describes himself as a "follower." Bill likes to pick strangers out of a crowd and then follow them around the streets of London, learning all kinds of details about their lives.
 
If you ask Bill, he is not a stalker; he's just an active voyeur. Nonetheless, Bill's voyeurism becomes risky and dangerous when he starts tailing a handsome, smart-dressed fellow carrying a large satchel. It turns out to be Mr. Cobb (Alex Haw), a smooth-talking cat burglar who also likes to peek inside people's lives, though he goes beyond Bill's perversity in also breaking and entering. When Cobb confronts his follower, the tables are turned and Bill is plunged into a life of petty crime. 
 
There's no film noir without a femme fatale, and here it's cool blonde (Lucy Russell) who, like everyone else in the tale, is not exactly what she seems.
 
Writer-director Christopher Nolan is British, but his sensibility is firmly grounded in American movies, specifically the low-budget noirs of the 1940s and 1950s. But the voyeurism issue may also be influenced by Antonioni's seminal "Blow-Up" (1966) and other films.
 
Shot on an ultra-small budget, in grainy black-and-white and running just 70 minutes, this taut, gripping feature recalls hard-hitting crime thrillers of yesteryear. Like those films, Nolan's film twists and turns until it reaches its inevitably fatalistic closure.