DVD review: 'Following' foreshadowed Christopher Nolan's career

Christopher Nolan ascended from the low-budget “Memento” (under $10 million) to the mega-budget “Batman Begins” (over $150 million) in a mere five years. But his biggest budget leap was during the two years between “Memento” and its predecessor, his $5,000 first feature, “Following.” “Following” was a remarkable debut, even ignoring the fact that it was shot on weekends over several months. Not merely was it technically professional, but Nolan had crafted a script cleverer and more complex than most “blockbusters.”

The new Blu-ray has been restored and remastered; the audio and the black-and-white 16mm footage are essentially pristine. The extras include a commentary track from Nolan, recorded in 2001, and a more recent half-hour interview; there is inevitably some overlap, but not that much. Also included are the usual trailers and (far more intriguingly) “Doodlebug,” the trivial but amusing three-minute short that preceded “Following.”

But the most interesting is the “linear cut” Nolan has prepared. Like “Memento,” this noirish crime film is told out of order. This chronologically straightened version is not as revelatory as the similar recut of “Memento,” simply because the latter was so much more layered and ambiguous. Neither of these linear cuts should be considered in any way a substitute for the finished films. (No one should even think of watching them first.) Still, they make nice guides for anyone overly baffled.

"Following" (Criterion, Blu-ray, $39.95; DVD, $29.95)

ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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