Release Date: 1998
Director: Christopher Nolan
Why I picked this: It’s the only Nolan film I haven’t seen
The themes of this movie are hard to grasp, but I don’t ever remember encountering a story like this. It is definitely a Chris Nolan film, however. Low budget, shot in black-and-white, and only a mere seventy minutes long, this noir movie follows (no pun intended) a writer who calls himself “Bill,” who follows people, to see who they are, what they do. His reasoning is unclear, but he likes the idea of singling out a person from a crowd; they are not longer simply “part of a crowd,” they are their own person. But he becomes a little too obsessed with one “followee” named Cobb, who takes notice of Bill following him. Cobb tells Bill the nature of his “job,” which is essentially robbery. Sort of taking BIll under his wing, Cobb and Bill break into multiple homes to steal objects; Cobb has a unique philosophy; it’s not for the money, it’s for the adrenaline; he observes the inhabitants, even messing with their personal lives, such as playing undergarments from another robbery into someone’s pants pockets. Bill and Cobb have very interesting motives and reasoning, but like most Nolan films, they explicitly talk about them, not giving the audience a lot of room to think for themselves. The narrative is told in a non-linear fashion, which confused at first, but of course it makes more sense by the end. However, while I enjoyed watching images from earlier in the film begin to make more sense near the end, I don’t feel that the narrative structure necessarily enhanced the story. I enjoyed some of the editing and the framing of shots; the movie clearly wants to notice and make notes of certain elements within the world of the movie. However, the low budget feel was occasionally frustrating, and I don’t feel that the black-and-white look added anything to the visuals. The music by David Julyan is atmospheric, but unmemorable. The actors are all unknowns, but they all do a decent job. Alew Haw as Cobb did a good job; his performance, in my view, had hints of Tyler Durden from “Fight Club,” though Cobb came across as more classy. There is a very Nolan-esque ending, and while it is well-written, I felt that the execution was not as strong given the gravity of the revelation.
Pretty much what you would expect from Nolan in terms of story and visual style, albeit low budget and shorter, which is good or bad depending on your taste.