Following is a 1998 British neo-noir crime thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It tells the story of a young man who follows strangers around the streets of London and is drawn into a criminal underworld when he fails to keep his distance.

As Christopher Nolan’s debut feature, it was designed to be as inexpensive as possible to make. Scenes were heavily rehearsed so that just one or two takes were needed to economise on 16mm film stock, the production’s greatest expense, and for which Nolan was paying from his salary. Unable to afford expensive professional lighting equipment, Nolan mostly used available light. Along with writing, directing, and photographing the film, Nolan also helped in editing and production.

* * *

SPOILERS ALERT!

A struggling, unemployed young writer (credited as “The Young Man”) takes to following strangers around the streets of London, ostensibly to find inspiration for his first novel. Initially, he sets strict rules for himself regarding whom he should follow and for how long, but he soon discards them as he focuses on a well-groomed, handsome man in a dark suit. The man in the suit, having noticed he is being followed, quickly confronts the Young Man and introduces himself as “Cobb”. Cobb reveals that he is a serial burglar and invites the Young Man (who tells Cobb his name is “Bill”) to accompany him on various burglaries. The material gains from these crimes seem to be of secondary importance to Cobb. He takes pleasure in rifling through the personal items in his targets’ flats and drinking their wine. He explains that his true passion is using the shock of robbery and violation of property to make his victims re-examine their lives. He sums up his attitude thus: “You take it away, and show them what they had.”

The Young Man is thrilled by Cobb’s lifestyle. He attempts break-ins of his own, as Cobb encourages and guides him. At Cobb’s suggestion, he alters his appearance, cutting his hair short and wearing a dark suit. He assumes the name “Daniel Lloyd” based on the credit card Cobb gives to him and begins to pursue a relationship with a blonde woman whose flat he and Cobb burgled. The Blonde turns out to be the girlfriend of a small-time gangster (known only as the “Bald Guy”) whom she broke up with after he murdered a man in her flat. Soon, the Blonde confides that the Bald Guy is blackmailing her with incriminating photographs. The Young Man breaks into the Bald Guy’s safe, but is caught in the act by an unidentified man. He then bludgeons the man with a claw hammer and flees with the Bald Guy’s money and photos. Upon returning to his flat, he finds that the photos are innocuous modeling shots.

Confronting the Blonde, the Young Man learns that she and Cobb have been working together to manipulate him into mimicking Cobb’s burglary methods. She tells him that Cobb had recently discovered a murdered woman’s body during one of his burglaries and is attempting to deflect suspicion from himself by making it appear as though multiple burglars share his MO.

The Young Man leaves to turn himself in to the police. The Blonde reports her success to Cobb, who then reveals that he actually works for the Bald Guy. The story about the murdered woman was part of a plot to deceive both the Blonde and the Young Man: The Blonde has been blackmailing the Bald Guy with evidence from the murder he committed in her flat, and he wants her murdered in such a way that it cannot be connected to him. Cobb bludgeons the Blonde to death with the same claw hammer that the Young Man used during the burglary of the Bald Guy’s safe and leaves it at the scene. The police, checking out the Young Man’s story, find the Blonde murdered and the claw hammer with his fingerprints on it. The Young Man is thus implicated for the murder of the blonde woman. Cobb, meanwhile, vanishes into a crowd.

* * *

Following (1998)

 

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”?

Shadowing. Following.
I started to follow people.

Who?
Anyone at first.

I mean, that was the whole point.
Somebody at random.

Somebody who didn’t know who I was.

And then?

And then… nothing.

“Nothing”?

Nothing. I’d just see… where they went, what they did… and go home afterwards.

Why’d you do it?

To see where they went.

Anyone -I mean —

How can I explain?
You ever… been to a football match, just let your eyes… go over, drift across a crowd of people… and they slowly stop and fix on one person… and all of a sudden that person isn’t part of the crowd anymore?

They’ve become an individual, just like that.

It just became irresistible.

So you followed women?

No, I didn’t follow women.

It wasn’t a sex thing. I followed anybody.

I just wanted to see where they went and what they did.

You were playing secret agent?

No, I’m a writer.

Well, I want to be a writer, anyway.

I was gathering material for my characters.

Well, to begin with.

After a while, I spotted the dangers.

I’d become hooked. I had to start making up rules… to just try and keep it under control.

“Never follow people for too long.”

“Don’t follow women down dark alleys after dark.”

You know, stuff like that.

It was supposed to just be completely random.

And when it stopped being random… that’s when it started to go wrong.

When I started to follow people… specific people, when I selected… a person to follow… that was when the trouble started.

Other people are interesting to me.
Have you never… listened to other people’s conversations on the bus… or on the Tube, seen people, somebody on the street… that looks interesting or is behaving… slightly… oddly or something like that and wondered… what their lives involved, what they do… where they come from, where they go to?

You watch somebody’s behavior, and it raises… a hundred thousand questions… and I wanted to ask those questions… and I wanted to know what the answers were.

And so I’d follow people to try and find out.

The most important rule was… that even if I found out where somebody worked or where they lived… then you would never follow the same person twice.

That was the most important rule.

That was the one that I broke first.

Yes?

Coffee, please.
Come on. It’s lunch.

Toasted cheese sandwich as well.

Mind if I join you?

Who and why?

Hi. Yeah, um, I’ll have
a black coffee please, and —

What’s that?

Another coffee, black.

You’re obviously not a policeman,
so who are you and why are you following me?

I’m sorry. I don’t know
what you’re talking about.

Don’t piss me about.
Who the fuck are you?

Oh, thank you very much.

Sugar?

No, I wasn’t —
I wasn’t following you.

I saw you with your bag.

I just thought
you looked interesting.

What are you, a faggot?
No, no.

Okay, to tell you the truth,
I thought you were this guy…

that I was at school with.

I saw you walk in here,
so I followed you in just to see if it was him.

But it wasn’t.
Why didn’t you ask me when you saw me?

‘Cause I’d have been embarrassed
if it wasn’t the person.

Not as embarrassed
as you are now.

No, I suppose not.
What’s your name?

Bill.

Well, Bill, what do you do?

Actually, I’m kind of —
Between jobs right now. Yeah.

Yeah. That’s right.
What would you do?

Don’t know.
Oh, come on, Bill.

Don’t be coy. There’s some burning
ambition inside you, isn’t there?

There’s something
of the starving artist in you, no?

No. No.
No?

You’re a painter.
No. Photos.

No.
Writer. No.

Writer, eh?
No.

But you write.
Not much.

But sometimes.
Sometimes. Who doesn’t?

Me.

So you’re a writer.
I didn’t say that.

What makes you think
I’m a writer, anyway?

An unemployed 20-something…

who fancies himself a writer —
a real leap into the unknown.

Well, I’m not a writer.
But you’re interested in people.

Yeah.
This person.

Perhaps.

You haven’t even
asked me my name yet…

What’s your name?
or what’s in my bag.

What bag?
My bag.

The one you’ve been
looking at all morning.

What’s your name,
and what’s in your bag?

My name’s Cobb.

Take a look for yourself.

What were you expecting?
Drugs?

Why would you nick their old CDs?

Easy to grab a load. Easy to sell.
Totally untraceable.

The other stuff’s a bit more tricky.

You don’t look like a burglar.

Sounds like a compliment.

Are you interested now?

Gloves.

People don’t really do that, do they?
You’d be surprised.

Does that really work?

Wait and see.

Beginner’s luck.

See? Nobody home.

Okay, first things first.
We need a bag.

A bag?

To carry the stuff in.
Why are you whispering?

Don’t you have one of your own?

Yeah, it’s a big bag with
“swag” written right across it.

Bingo.

Okay. What do you fancy?

Nothing here of any value.
You don’t seem that concerned.

I don’t do it for the money.
Why do you do it?

For the adrenaline. And because,
like you, I’m interested in people.

You can tell a lot about people
from their stuff.

How old would you say these people are?
Don’t know.

You can tell a lot from the futon, for a start.
Young people have futons.

Most people wouldn’t be
anywhere near 40 with a futon.

And they’ve got one laundry bag,
which means…

they’re probably very used
to each other.

Probably about 25, over.

They could be 20 and have
been living together for years.

Nah. No, look at the books.
They’re college-educated.

Probably graduated
when they were 21 or 22.

Moved in together in the last year.

You can tell more from the music.

And here is the box.

What box?
Everyone has a box.

With men, it’s usually a shoebox.

Are there valuables in it?
No. More interesting, more personal.

Things like snapshots, letters…

or trinkets from a Christmas cracker.

See?

Envelope, photo…

little calling cards, notes.

A sort of unconscious collection.
A display.

What do you mean, “display”?
Well, display.

Each thing tells something
very intimate about the people.

We’re very privileged to see it.
It’s very rare.

Hey, hey, hey, hey!
What the —

What the hell’d you do that for?

It’s like a diary.

They hide it, but actually they want
someone to see it. That’s what I do.

Concealment, display —
flip sides of the same coin.

This way they know
that someone’s seen it.

That’s what it’s all about —
interrupting someone’s life…

making them see all the things
they took for granted.

Like when they go back and buy
all this stuff from the shelves…

with the insurance money,
they’ll have to think…

for the first time in a long time…

why they wanted all this stuff,
what it’s for.

You take it away…

and show them what they had.

Saucy, eh?
Found these in the last flat.

Think I’ll just give them
something to chat about.

Why would you do that?

She’ll find them in his trousers
and ask him what he’s been doing.

Yeah, but why would you want
to fuck up their relationship?

Don’t you listen?
You take it away…

and show them what they had.

Fancy a drink?
You’ve gotta be joking.

Oh, don’t be fooled
by the supermarket label.

I seem to remember I’ve had this before,
and it was actually quite good.

You’d have had a bit of difficulty
doing this with your gloves on.

So we actually gonna take anything?
Anything your heart desires.

Although that’s not really the point, is it?
I mean, it’s just work.

I thought the whole point of burglary
was taking things.

No, this is the point -breaking in,
entering someone’s life…

finding out who they really are.

I mean, don’t you just feel it?
Standing here…

drinking their wine —
people we’ll never even meet.

Would you like a drink?
I’ve got some wine.

Holy f–

You startled us! Are you from the agency,
or are you viewing like us?

What are you
doing in my flat?

Didn’t the agent tell you
we’d be here this afternoon?

But we’re not moving.

You must be the man of the house.
Congratulations. You have a very nice home.

But we’re not moving.
Really?

Oh, then I should check
with the agent then, love.

Bye.

Shit. We shouldn’t have come up here.
We’re gonna have to wait ages to get down.

There’s a way up here.

Jesus Christ!
Do you think they believed you?

Of course they didn’t
fucking believe me.

What the hell
do you think you were doing?

I caught them on the hop. We surprised them.
How do you mean?

That bloke wasn’t her boyfriend.
Why do you think he didn’t say anything?

No, she was up to no good, and she was
probably glad we weren’t her boyfriend.

You reckon?
Definitely. Why else would she be home…

in the middle of the afternoon?

No, you just can’t plan
for that kind of fucking shit.

We were unlucky.
Don’t worry about it. It won’t happen again.

Yeah, well, I’m not so sure.
Oh, yeah?

Well, next time you can do
the fucking prep work.

No, no, I didn’t mean —
No, I mean it.

Take your mark, check it out…

for days, months, years, whatever.

It’ll be the next place we hit.
Yeah, all right.

Tell you what.
What?

I feel bad about pulling
the panty routine on that bloke.

She’s gonna give him loads of shit,
and she’s the one fooling around.

A beer, please.

Buy you a drink?
Yeah.

But you can’t sleep with me.
Why is that?

‘Cause I’m with the guy over there.

Not that bald one.

He’ll let you buy me a drink,
but sex is completely out of the question.

Still want to buy me that drink?
No.

So what’s a nice girl like you…
Doing in a place like this.

Doing with a bald old cunt like that?

It’s a long story. And keep your voice down,
’cause he does own this place.

I was trying to get your attention.

My name’s Daniel Lloyd.
My friends call me Danny.

So?

So you’ve obviously had a bad day…

the kind that makes you feel like
everybody’s out for their pound of flesh.

Yeah.

I’ve been having
quite a lot of days like that.

Say something to me.
Like what?

I’ll see you outside in ten minutes.

Oh, I’m sorry. It just —
Just came apart in your hands.

It did, actually.
Yeah, I know. It was broken already.

It’s all right.
Somebody dropped it.

I’ve been meaning to fix it…

but…

I’ll probably never get around to it.

So take a seat.
Make yourself at home.

So about you and this bald guy, then.
What about him?

Going out with him?
Not exactly.

But you and him have
something going.

We used to go out with each other,
but that’s been over for a long time.

So why did you tell me
you were with him?

To get rid of you.

So why, when you agreed to have
a drink with me, did we have to come here?

He still gets jealous, and…

I didn’t feel like going back to my place.
Why not?

I got burgled yesterday.

What’s it feel like, being broken into?

Most people ask,
“What did they take?”

I’m curious about the way people feel.

I’m a writer.

Gosh.

So?
So?

So how’d it feel?
Great.

Sorry.

So this bald guy —
he’s dangerous, is he?

Christ, you are a nosy bastard.
Dangerous like how?

Dangerous like
criminal-type dangerous.

Dangerous like
“involved in bad things” type dangerous.

What sort of bad things?
The usual.

Girls, drugs, magazines.
Magazines?

And films. Pornography.
And he owns a couple of clubs.

Wealthy type?
Yes.

And refined.

Took me a long time to realize
the kind of things he was capable of.

And what sort of things are they?

Perhaps another time.

I really think I should be going.

Yeah?

It’s me -Bill.
What the fuck do you want?

Advice.
On what?

On a job.
What fucking job?

The job that I told you about.
Not interested.

Yeah, I know that.
I’m gonna do it myself.

Wanna know something
about protection.

“Protection”?
Yeah. You know…

self-defense, weapons,
stuff like that.

Surprisingly enough, I thought
you might be able to give me some advice.

Steel whip.
Nunchucks, they’re all right.

Tools are good -sharpened
screwdriver, hammer, chisel —

“Hammer”?
Yeah. Medium size. Good rubber grip.

It’s very nasty. If you get a claw hammer,
you can pry doors with it.

Slip it into the back
of your waistband, you’re set.

You still there?

Why don’t you get some of these,
for chrissake?

Where did you get them?
Stole them from Middlesex Hospital.

You can’t buy them.

Bin-fucking-go.

Okay. You get the bag.
I’ll check out the stuff.

I got one.
Oh, that’s good.

May not need it, though.
There’s fuck-all here.

Really?

Well, what about the telly?
It’s fucking useless.

What are we, burglars or vandals?

Well, if you’re a burglar,
why don’t you start burgling?

What about the tapes?

Not much of a collection,
and it’s a bit personal.

What do you mean?

Not the stuff you’d play to your dinner
party guests to fill in gaps in conversation.

What sort of music’s that?

I don’t know. Simply Red,
Fleetwood Mac, that kind of shit.

He’s got taste.
Each to his own…

but he’s a sad fucker
with no social life.

Nice machine.
Maybe he’s a writer.

Nah. If he was a writer,
he’d have a word processor.

This guy wants to be a writer,
and those are two totally separate things.

You checked this out?

You watched him go to work?
You saw his routine?

Yeah.

What’s his job?
He works in a bank.

This guy’s unemployed.

No, he’s not.
Look at the desk. He’s unemployed.

People who have jobs don’t have
this fucking shit in their homes.

He’s either unemployed
or is a student…

which means he could be back
any fucking second. What the fuck is that?

I mean, you should recognize
the dole, boy. His fucking UB40!

You fucking asshole! You didn’t
check this out at all. We’re going now.

We’re not gonna take anything?

No, we’re not.
I don’t feel like scrounging off…

some poor dole-head fucker —
no offense.

None taken.

Let’s go to someplace
I’ve checked out.

Hi. Make yourself at home.
I’ll be down in just a minute.

Nice place.
Thanks.

Feel a bit funny about it,
you know, since…

someone’s been going through my stuff.
It’s sort of creepy.

What’d they take?

Books, my camera, CDs.

They even took a bag
from my cupboard to take it away in.

Apparently that’s pretty standard.
Must be terrible, losing all that stuff.

Insurance will cover most of it.
It’s personal stuff that’s worse.

“Personal stuff”? Like what?

They, um,
rifled through my underwear.

Shit. Why would they do that?

Come on. You know the kind of kinky,
voyeuristic shit men get into.

No, I’m sorry.
I’m not into any of that.

One other thing they did was
they took one of my earrings.

The didn’t take the pair, they just took one,
just to really fuck me off.

You probably misplaced
the other one or something.

Oh, no. I mean,
I had them on my dresser.

I came back,
and there was just one.

So you just wear the other one now.
Gives me something to talk about.

I’ll —
I’ll go and get some clothes on.

Bill?

Saucy, eh?

You haven’t found a bag yet?

Is this her flat?
Yeah. She’s a fox.

She’s got pictures
of herself everywhere.

Yeah. She looks good.

Look at this stuff.

You should take some of this stuff.
No way.

Suit yourself.
I’m gonna take some, though.

Look at her. She’s a babe.

Bingo.

Why does she have
so many pictures of herself?

I think she’s a model.
She’s certainly vain.

Is that about it?

Yeah, I guess
that covers the useful stuff.

Stereo’s too big.

Piano definitely too big.
I think…

I’ll just misplace this for her.

What is this place?
Used to be offices.

How’d you get the keys?
Broke in, changed the locks.

It’s owned by one of those
management places, you know?

They never come around, and if they do,
they’ll just think they’ve mixed up their keys.

Eventually they’ll break in and change
the locks, but I’ll be long gone by then.

London’s full of these dead spaces.

Above restaurants or shops.
Whole buildings.

Do we leave the stuff here?
No, that’s your job.

You hang on to it till I let you know
we’re ready to fence it.

Okay.
Unless…

you want to try to sell it yourself
and give me half of what you get.

I wouldn’t know
what to do with it.

Look, I was hard on you
on that last place…

but you’ve got to understand:
I won’t let anybody put me at risk.

It’s dangerous enough already.
Sure.

An early supper, I think.
I really can’t afford it.

It’s covered.
Yeah?

Okay.

Authentic, I don’t know,
but I like it.

So you keep on coming in here?

I know. I like it, but —
Why, I don’t know.

No, I do know why.

Why?
Well, because there’s no windows…

and because it’s dark, and nobody
can see you in the alcoves…

and so perhaps the bald guy
wouldn’t come past.

Maybe.
Maybe. Maybe this is where you bring

all the guys you go out with,
because you know that he’s…

not just gonna be walking by,
popping in.

Maybe.
Maybe, yeah.

I thought it was over
between you two.

It is.

So how come you still go
to basement bars, then…

so that you can’t be seen by him?

Because, as I’ve told you before —
Because you’re afraid of him, ’cause he’s —

Because he’s dangerous.
Dangerous.

Dangerous -How-How dangerous?
You keep on saying he’s dangerous.

You never explain to me…

why you’re so afraid of him.

Okay.

He came around to my flat…

with a couple of his associates…

and… I didn’t really know
what all this was about…

until this other guy arrived…

who apparently owed them
some money.

They didn’t like this very much,
so they got a hammer.

They held him down, and they smashed
every single one of his fingers.

And then they smashed his skull.

Someone get me
a tea towel or something.

You’re joking with me.

No.

You’re not joking with me.

This is why you don’t
go out with him anymore.

No. No, no. That’s because
he made a mess on my carpet.

That’s not funny.

I know.

How on earth did you get
to fall in with somebody like this?

Let’s just change the subject,
all right?

He’s not the sort of bloke I’d have
thought you’d normally associate with.

Come on.
What were you doing? Were you…

“working” for him at the time?

That is none of your business.

I think you better find someone else
to start telling you little stories.

Oh, come on.
I was just joking.

Oh, Jesus fucking Christ!

Think, think, think, think, think, think.

You’re developing a taste for it.

The violating, the voyeurism —
oh, it’s definitely you.

I think not.
I think so.

And before long you’ll have developed a taste
for all the things that go with the proceeds.

Such as?
Well, all this.

Do you make all your money
through burglary?

No, not all of it.

In fact, you’re gonna pay for this.
I told you: I can’t afford to.

Don’t worry. It won’t really be you.
It’ll be D. Lloyd that pays for this.

I thought I’d give you the pleasure
of pretending to pay.

What am I supposed to do with this?
Sign it.

“Sign it”?
Sign it.

In your own handwriting.
Then you can do anything you want with it.

“D. Lloyd.”

Don’t you ever worry
about being caught?

Why else would I do it?
Besides, I’m not gonna get caught.

What, you’ve thought it all through?
I’ve thought it all through.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

I will do things
that you don’t even believe.

Such as —
Example:

Sometimes when I’m watching a flat,
I’ll see that the owners…

are about to go on holiday.

I’ll wait till they’re gone,
then move in for a week or two.

You’ve got to be joking.

No. Happens a lot more
than you’d believe.

How do you know
when they’re gonna be back?

It’s almost always marked
on the kitchen calendar.

Christ.

Jesus fucking Christ!

What’s wrong?
The woman -from the first flat.

The one we broke into. She just walked in.
Are you sure?

Yes, I am fucking sure.
Is she with the same bloke?

No.
It’s all right, then.

What if she sees us?

She’s with her partner.
She can’t do anything.

I think that’s
one hell of a chance to take.

What’s she gonna say? We stole half
a bottle of indifferent red wine? Calm down.

Do you mind if we skip dessert?
Yes, I fucking mind.

She’s coming this way.
She’s going to the loo.

She saw me.
Oh, yeah?

She saw me. She recognizes us.
I think we should leave.

Okay.

We’ll leave. Not that we’ve got
anything to worry about…

except for you making
a fucking twat out of yourself.

I really hate it when I don’t get to finish
a good meal with a cup of coffee.

Yeah, but —
Don’t fucking say it.

She got a second look at me.
She recognized me.

That sort of thing makes me nervous.

If you’re so worried about your appearance,
why don’t you change it?

You know, new haircut,
new set of clothes.

Your mother won’t recognize you. Just
because you break into people’s homes…

doesn’t mean you have to look
like a fucking burglar.

“Everybody has a box.”

Yeah?
Hello. It’s Bill.

Oh, hello, Bill.
What can I do for you?

Not much. It’s about the stuff.

What about the stuff?

I’ve, met this guy.
Said he would fence most of it.

I thought I’d have a go myself,
like you said.

I don’t reckon
I’ll get as much as you could…

but, um, you’ll have half
of whatever I get.

How does that sound?

Well, that sounds fine.
Anything else?

Yeah, I took your advice.
What advice?

About changing my appearance.
Got my hair cut. I’m all dressed up.

With no place to go.

God, Bill, I wasn’t being
entirely serious about that, you know?

Yeah.

I just feel better this way.

Safer, huh?
Safer.

I’ll give you a ring
when I get the money.

Right.

What was all that about?

You.

Your stuff, anyway.
He’s gonna deal with it himself.

Meaning?

Meaning he took the bait,
and he’s hooked.

He’s gonna hang on to the stuff,
pretend to sell it, give me some money.

You may even get most of it back,
if you’re lucky.

God, it’s perfect.
The photos worked.

I even got him to cut his hair
and change his clothes.

So does that mean you’ll tell me
where you hid my earring?

No.

And I wouldn’t wait
for your panties either.

He’s too embarrassed
to give those back to you.

Shit. And did you have
to break my window?

Couldn’t you have found
a key or something?

No, that would’ve been
three spare keys in a row.

Even Bill’s not going to fall for that.

God, it was so embarrassing
when we went to his place.

Right under the mat, just like I told him.
It’s totally pathetic.

It was a new mat as well,
and I seriously think…

he bought this mat just so
he could put the key under it.

Fuck off.

How did you know it was me?

That could’ve been your mother
you just told to fuck off.

I meant it.

Oh, come on. Let me in.
I’ve come to apologize.

So apologize.
I haven’t been entirely honest with you.

I’m doing a piece about burglaries.

What?

I’m writing about burglaries,
about a friend of mine…

who breaks into people’s houses.

That’s why I asked you
so many questions about your break-in.

I didn’t tell you at the time ’cause
I didn’t want to upset you too much.

He’s been breaking in, and I’ve been —
I haven’t stolen anything.

I just go along and…
see what happens.

Is that it?

Yes.

What’s that got to do with anything?

Now I’ve been honest with you.
I want you to return the favor.

I have been honest with you.
You’re still seeing the bald guy.

I was early the other day,
and I saw him leave.

You said it was over.
It is.

Then why are you still seeing him?

He’s blackmailing me.

He’s rich. Why on earth would he —
I didn’t say anything about money.

What’s he blackmailing you with?
Photos.

Of?

Of me.

Don’t ask me anything else.

I’m not feeding your
seedy little fantasies.

You’ve got me all wrong,
you know.

Have I?
Yes.

Where are these pictures?
In his office. Why?

I could take them.
How?

I could break in.
Me and this guy could do it.

There’s got to be some valuable stuff
in his office, right?

He sometimes keeps some money in his safe.
We can’t get into his safe.

That’s where the photos are.
What?

They’re in an envelope —
the negatives and some of the prints.

We can’t do that.
I know the combination.

How?

I’ve seen him open it
loads of times.

I thought I might be able
to lift them myself.

That’s what we’ll do, then.

No one in their right minds
would steal from him.

If we don’t get caught, it’s not gonna
matter who it was we stole from…

and we’re not going to get caught.

If you get them,
you won’t look at the photos…

and you won’t even look
in the envelope.

Of course not.
I’ve got your word on that?

You have my word.

You’re late.
Sorry.

I thought you said
you were gonna fence it yourself.

I got rid of most of it.

It’ll take me a couple days
to get rid of all this.

That’s what I thought.

Is there something else
on your mind?

Yeah. I want to hit a place.

I’ve been scouting out
a couple places.

A particular place. For some photos.
“Photos”?

Yeah, for a friend.

What’s the place?

The photos are in a safe,
but I’ve got the combination.

Well, if it’s for a friend,
where’s the money in it?

Money’s in the safe… probably.

“Probably.” Whose office?

A club owner. Pornographer type.
Heavy?

Yeah, looks like it.

What the fuck’s going on?

I’m seeing someone.
Who?

The owner of that bag.
What?

The woman whose house we hit,
the one with the pictures of herself.

Tell me you’re fucking joking.

No.

I thought she looked interesting,
I followed her…

we had a drink, and… now we’re involved.
Have you slept with her?

Yeah. We’re gettin’ on really well.

I wanted to give some of her stuff back
to her, but I thought that would mean —

You thought that would mean telling her
that you fucking robbed her!

How shrewd! I mean, how fucking
prudent of you not to tell her that!

That’s a nice haircut, though.

Nice suit as well.

Pity about the bloodstains on it.
What blood–

You’re on your own now.

Here.
Here’s a present for you…

to get you started
on your new solo career.

Did you have to beat him?
Did you have to sleep with him?

You told me to.
I said you should if you had to…

but that’s not really the same
as telling you to.

Did you enjoy it?
Did you enjoy beating him up?

Of course.

Look, I’m in deep shit.
This is going to work.

Do they really think
you’re involved?

They’ve already had me in
for questioning, haven’t they?

It’s not gonna be long before they find
the guy who saw me leave and pull me in.

Did he get a good look at you?
No.

Which is why I think
this is gonna work.

All we need is someone
of roughly the same appearance…

roughly the same way of working,
and we should be fine.

Just tell them what really happened,
that you found her like that.

No, you wouldn’t say that
if you saw what I saw.

No, I mean, this is horrible.

There’s blood everywhere.

I mean, her head has been beaten.
She doesn’t even look human anymore.

I mean, I’d been there a while.

I may have left traces, prints,
forensic shit. I don’t know.

The point is, the body’s fresh.
It hasn’t been dead long.

Any witness might put me there
close enough to the time of death.

You just said the witness
didn’t get a good look at you.

No, but that’s not the point, is it?

A crime that brutal —
an old lady beaten to death.

If they even think it’s me, they’re gonna
try and pin it on me, aren’t they?

No, we’ve got to have someone else.
I’ve even told them there’s someone else.

And if he’s got an alibi?
Well, he’s a loner.

He’s perfect.

Even strangers that have seen him before
aren’t gonna recognize him…

because he’s had his hair cut.

No, he’s our man.

I’ve got it.

I’ve got to drop off
the fucking money first.

Money. Bundles of fucking money.

Nothing. Nothing.

“Okay”?

I’ll -I’ll be around soon.

You promised me
you wouldn’t open the envelope.

It wasn’t sealed. They fell out.

“They fell out.”
So are you gonna explain?

I mean, what was it? Was it all
just bullshit to get hold of the money?

There isn’t usually any in there.

Well, what, then?

It was for a friend.

The police think he did something,
and he didn’t…

so he needs a decoy,
another likely suspect.

Someone caught robbing a place using
the same way he does it, his methods.

“His methods”?

Who is the friend?

Cobb.

Broke into a place
a couple of weeks ago.

He found an old lady
bashed to death.

He ran off. Someone saw him.

Couple of days later, the police called him in
for questioning. They think he killed her.

He probably did.

No, he’s a thief.
He’s not a murderer.

So he told them
that they’d got him confused…

with another burglar he knew,
one who used the same MO.

Why me?

You set yourself up for it.

Cobb noticed you following him
days before he actually approached you.

Well, initially he thought
you were police…

and then he followed you.
He followed me?

He followed you
and realized you were just…

this sad little fucker
waiting to be used.

So you and Cobb just went for it.

How could you do this to me?

To anybody?

It’s not that serious.

You’ve got the money.
You didn’t kill the old lady.

You’re just there to plant doubt
in the minds of the police.

They’ll never charge you.

You were supposed to get caught
tonight breaking in.

They’d pull you in, ask you about the old lady,
and you wouldn’t know anything.

They could still have charged me
for breaking and entering.

But you did break and enter.

And for whatever reason,
you didn’t get caught red-handed.

He came in. He went down.

I didn’t hang around long enough
to find out whether he could get up.

It’s his blood on my hammer.

How could you do this to me?

It’s nothing personal.

When I began this,
I didn’t even know you.

I’m going to the police in the morning.
You can’t.

I’m going,
and I’m gonna tell them everything.

You can’t,
’cause they won’t believe you.

I’m gonna tell them everything.
They’ll believe me because it’s the truth.

Not if you haven’t got
someone to back up your story.

You could.
I won’t.

They’ll make you, because your lies
won’t stand up to the truth.

I wouldn’t do this if I were you.

That’s it.

I mean, if you’ve got
any questions, then —

One or two.

You see, we don’t actually have
any unsolved murders of old ladies…

at the present.
You must have.

There’s no such ongoing investigation.

And we don’t know
this Mr. Cobb of yours.

I warned you
he’d look in the envelope.

He gave me his word.
I believed him.

It’s nothing personal.
He couldn’t help it.

I mean, he’s a born peeper.

Anyway, down to business.

“Business”?

Perhaps there’s…

something else
you’d like to tell me?

Anything.

Where’s the hammer?
It’s in that bag.

What are you gonna do with it?

The old man was very specific
about how I should do things.

What’s the old man
got to say about it?

Well, he is letting me keep
all the money from his safe.

Anything at all.

Your side of things.

He says your demands
have become too unreasonable.

You’ve become too greedy
in your blackmail.

He said something
about you being a witness…

to an incident
that happened in this very room.

He was very precise about exactly
how and where I should take care of things.

Something about
a bloodstained carpet…

that you’ve got stashed away
to back up your story…

should it ever be told.

Did you talk to her?

We found her this morning.

What do you mean, “found her”?

Her body.

We also found a hammer
with two types of blood on it.

One type I assume will match
the bloke you put in hospital.

All her fingers were smashed.

You must have tortured her
to get the combination.

I didn’t touch her!

We also found
some interesting items in your flat…

in this shoebox under your bed.

Among various items reported missing
by the deceased last week, we found…

these pairs of ladies’ underwear.

Are they hers?

I assume so,
since we found them stashed…

with these passport-style
photographs of the deceased.

We also found this pearl earring…

which exactly matched…

the one worn by the deceased
at the time of her death.

A little trophy?
No.

It was Cobb who planted it
when we turned over her place.

Go and collar him.
I gave you his address.

We checked the address you gave us.
There’s no Cobb there.

The flat belongs to a Mr…

D. Lloyd.

He’s just returned from holiday…

and he told us that while he was away,
his flat had been burgled.

Not much was missing…

but his new credit card
hasn’t yet arrived.

Well, that was Cobb.
We used it to…

pay for a meal in a restaurant.

We found this at your flat.

It was Cobb…

who stole it.

Is that your handwriting?

Yes.