After seeing The Prestige I decided that Christopher Nolan is the best film director of the century (so far). To back this up, I offer up his oevre of full-length films to date: The Prestige, Batman Begins, Insomnia, Memento, and Following.

You probably haven’t heard of Following, because it’s a low-budget black-and-white feature from 1999 starring only part-time actors. But even as his first full-length film, it already shows many of Nolan’s trademarks: a twisty plot, back-stabbing characters who are a lot darker than they at first seem, and a tense narrative that flits back and forth in time in a manner crafted to conceal and seduce rather than to blind and confuse.

The story starts with an unemployed writer who decides to follow random people on the street. Not in a scary stalky way, but just to learn more about who they are, and what they do. But when he follows the same mysterious man twice, he gets caught in the act. This man, Cobb, turns out to be a burglar. He introduces the writer to his techniques, and gets him to try a couple of break-ins himself. And then things start to go really wrong.

The only place you’ll probably be able to find this is an on-line rental service, but if you liked any of Nolan’s other films, I think you’ll find it worth your while to put it in your queue.