Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell
NY Distribution Status: now playing (Zeitgeist)

Grade: B-


Instead, however, he opts to repeatedly jump back and forth in time, for no apparent reason other than an anti-conventional "chronology is for wimps" ethos that's becoming a pandemic w/r/t low-budget indie films. In fact, I so enjoyed the film's high-concept premise -- a failed writer (Theobald, suitably rabbity and desperate) begins stalking random passersby, ostensibly in order to gather material for characters, and winds up aiding and abetting the crimes of a professional burglar-cum-philosopher (Haw, who's far too broad) -- that I might have given it a mild recommendation had Nolan simply begun his tale at the beginning, proceeded in an orderly fashion to the middle, and wrapped it all up with a big red ribbon at the end. As a matter of fact, you are irritated, aren't you? It's easy to see why writers and directors tend to gravitate toward unorthodox structures: depicting your narrative out of order automatically creates a sort of surface-level tension, temporarily bewildering the viewer while simultaneously flattering him for his ability to successfully assemble the jigsaw puzzle in his head. Sometimes you like a movie in spite of its obvious flaws; I recognize that Christopher Nolan's gimmicky b&w psychological thriller is both derivative and opportunistic, but I had a pretty good time anyway. It's as if I were to write a review, then scramble the sentences -- you might be intrigued, initially, but I bet you'd get irritated fairly quickly. But for every Atom Egoyan or Quentin Tarantino who uses the technique to heartbreaking effect, there are several dozen imitators who employ it completely arbitrarily, inspiring massive hindsight-exasperation; Following often feels as if Nolan had written each scene on a separate 3x5 index card, tossed the cards in front of a high-speed electric fan, scooped them up from the floor at random, then assembled the footage as the new configuration of cards dictated. Told ya so.