Wednesday, September 15, 1999

The Following

Posted By on Wed, Sep 15, 1999 at 12:00 AM

This little on-the-cheap, black-and-white British film has all the earmarks of a classic film noir – a story told in flashback, a femme fatale and a hapless protagonist who, try as he may, simply doesn’t know the score.

The premise that writer-director Christopher Nolan uses to jump-start his plot is a little shaky, but once you get past that things move along nicely. Our hero-sap, billed simply as "the Young Man" (Jeremy Theobald), is an unemployed writer who, out of boredom and loneliness, one day decides to start following people – no kinky motives, he insists, just curiosity and nothing better to do. He even sets himself some ground rules, the most important being not to follow the same person twice – a rule he inevitably breaks, for reasons as vague as why he started following people in the first place.

The story proper begins when one of his subjects approaches him and asks, quite reasonably, why he’s being followed. This turns out to be Cobb (Alex Haw), a dapper young fellow who seems more amused than angry at being the object of the writer’s odd hobby. Cobb himself is a professional and rather philosophical burglar, someone who considers his thieving to be a sort of art. Not only does he confide in "the Young Man," but he offers to take him along to watch as he plies his trade. From this point on, nothing – or very little – is quite what it seems to be.

For some reason Nolan has decided to jazz up his already clever story by telling it out of sequence. It’s an unnecessary affectation. Nolan’s an inventive talent and since he can pull off a twisty tale like this on a shoestring, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with a budget.

Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for the Metro Times. E-mail him at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Richard C. Walls

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation