Saturday, July 22, 2017

Following

Following is Christopher Nolan's first feature length film.  It was produced for only $6,000 and made $240,495 at the box office--a pretty good profit margin if you ask me!  It tells the story of Billy, an aspiring writer who follows people around to learn about them and people-watch who meets up with a thief named Cobb (Inception reference anyone?) who shows him how interesting it can be to enter people's homes and see their possessions.

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The premise of this movie is actually pretty interesting, and connects to something I'm doing right now, this very weekend!

My neighbors went out of town this weekend and asked me to pet-sit for them.  They are very nice people and told me I was free to hang out in their house and keep the animals company as often as I wanted while they were gone.

A couple times I've figured the animals might want some sound stimulation so I played a bit on their piano, knowing that they wouldn't mind (and also since I have a crazy obsession with playing on every different piano I can find--they're all a little different!).

Not only did I use their piano a couple times, but I couldn't resist looking at some of the photos they had framed and hung up all over the house.  Much like Billy and Cobb, I was simply fascinated with their lives, these people that live next door to me but who I don't often see or talk to.

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It was pretty easy to see that they are a very happy family with tons of vacation photos and inspirational quotes painted on canvases all around their living room.

It was shocking how much I could learn about them though just from my eyes happening to look at their walls!  I innocently went to the fridge to get some cat food without intending to creep on their family (I would never do that!) and I noticed a business card for an anxiety therapist.  I saw their goals for summer written down and their extensive tea collection.  I felt like I had learned to much about them just by what they own!

I also had some previous knowledge of some incidents among the family that weren't necessarily very pleasant that would lead me to believe that they weren't a particularly happy family--but all their possessions completely contradicted that!

This ties back into Following because at one point Billy "tricks" Cobb into breaking into Billy's own flat just to see what Cobb will have to say about Billy's life based on his possessions.  Billy is shocked by how accurate Cobb is at describing his life just based on possessions.

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Later on in the movie, however, you learn that someone's possessions can't tell you everything about someone and can in some cases completely deceive you.  Billy and Cobb break into a woman's house and Billy draws one conclusion about her that turns out to be completely false at the end of the movie.

I suppose that this film and my experience getting free reign in someone else's house (without breaking in mind you!) I learned that you can learn a lot about people from their possessions, but not everything and sometimes things that are not necessarily true.

This is an important lesson in my opinion because we should always be careful to judge people based on appearance.  Even if you're positive that your next-door-neighbors are a perfect family in their vacation photos, the truth may be that they are dealing with their own problems you know nothing about.  Even if you know for sure the woman whose house you broke into is on your side, you could be completely wrong and be duped at the end of the movie.

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Following is a necessary film to watch if you want to truly be exposed to Nolan's filmography and you can see the inklings of ideas he would expand on later and in more detail in Memento, The Prestige and Inception within this short movie.

It is definitely not my favorite Nolan film just because it has some lagging parts, the acting seems very amateur (though not bad--just not experienced) and there are definitely issues with choreography in fight scenes that take you out of the moment.

I say watch this movie though, if you want the complete Nolan experience.

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