An older man listens to Bill's story about being a callow writer who likes to follow strangers around London, observing them. One day, a glib and self-confident man whom Bill has been following confronts him. He's Cobb, a burglar who takes Bill under his wing and shows him how to break and enter. They burgle a woman's flat; Bill gets intrigued with her (photographs are everywhere in her flat). He follows her and chats her up at a bar owned by her ex-boyfriend, a nasty piece of work who killed someone in her living room with a hammer. Soon Bill is volunteering to do her a favor, which involves a break-in. What does the older man know that Bill doesn't?Written by
Christopher Nolan came up with the idea for the film because he had his home broken into and wondered what the people thought as they went around looking at his belongings. See more »
In one shot, when Cobb puts the gloves in the young man's mouth it is half sticking out but in the next scene it is almost completely in the young man's mouth. See more »
The following is my explanation. Well, more of an account of what happened. I'd been on my own for a while and getting kind of lonely... and bored... nothing to do all day. And that's when I started shadowing.
Shadowing - Following. I started to follow people
Anyone at first. Um,
you know, that was the whole point - somebody at random, someone who didn't know who I was.
And then nothing.
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The Criterion Collection DVD features an additional "Chronological Edit" of the film, which places the scenes in linear order. See more »
The debut that plucked from obscurity one of the brighter stars of contemporary noir is an assured, if limited, stab at the con game and obsession. Filmed for zero money, Nolan couldn't have chosen a better subject than the drab and seamy underside of London to ply his trade, given the lack of funds. This short (67 min) is at its best in playing with the audience's and protagonist's expectations about who is scamming whom, though the initial set-up does ring some alarm bells in the credibility dept. The muddy cinematography (he often used natural lighting due to budget) can be mostly chalked up to noir stylization, though the limitations do show at times.
One can easily see Nolan's style developing in this fledgling effort; many of the same themes of blurred identity and expectation smashing recur in MEMENTO and INSOMNIA. Not a masterpiece but good and certainly worth a look for modern noir and Nolan fans.
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