The Voyeur is an interesting individual and an exhibit of a part of each of us that we choose not to share. One of the most interesting parts of living in a modern, global society is that our individual members are often more interesting than their appearance lets on. The mundane is the most rich. We all know this but we choose not to explore further into other lives than our own for mores prevent such behavior. Or possibly it is only those who lack a threshold level of self-importance or narcissistic value that look beyond themselves and into the lives of others. We’re all curious in some way, right?
Complications arise when the plane is broken between observation and meddling . After following someone all day, wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what their home looks like? or smells like? What if you started picking people you thought might have interesting or expensive things in their home?
Christopher Nolan’s first feature length film, Following, explores this small nuance of humanity. A film he both wrote and directed, there are elements of his later Memento throughout this film noir tale of exploitation. The relatively simple, albeit interesting, premise twists when the Voyeur follows a man who breaks into houses for a living. Predictably, he then crosses over from the benign to the home invader. The thief explains his philosophy in eloquent and simple terms that make sense and almost even convince the viewer that its not such a big deal. He explains the magnificence of the little mementos found stuffed in an old box. We all have them. Call them “junk drawers,” keep them in boxes in a closet or what have you. The little things that have memories attached to them but are not important or significant enough to display visibly in the home, yet they are too crucial to toss away. These, he explains, are the meat of the home. The rare and exquisite articles that make up a life. The Thief doesn’t steal these things but rather likes to cast them across the floor as to remind the owner of them and their memories. Shake em’ up.
I think the Thief is doing these people a favor (aside from the stuff he actually does steal). We could all use a reminder of who we were and we could all use the chance to reevaluate which memories we want to keep storing away.