Director: Ilya Naishuller
Staring: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksei Serebryakov and Christopher Lloyd.
There is a sub-genre of action films about a power fantasy, where somebody has just had enough and snaps. Falling Down is the best example of this and that is what the first half an hour of Nobody feels like. Pure wish-fulfilment of a middle aged man, stuck in life with no real purpose. The film starts with a montage of Hutch, played by Bob Odenkirk, and his mundane day to day life. He misses the bins going week after week, which just makes you wonder why don’t they leave the bin out for the next week and where is all of the rubbish piling up? The bin doesn’t look any fuller each week.
The break from this routine is when 2 people break into the house at the middle of the night. Hutch has the chance to take a swing with a golf club, but decides not to. They only take a few dollars from their bowl of change. It’s the next day when Hutch’s daughter can’t find her kitty cat bracelet that Hutch snaps. He goes off to find the bracelet, and while he doesn’t fulfil that mission he ends up protecting a girl on the bus from a group of thugs. One of those thugs happens to be the brother to Russian mob psycho Yulian Kuznetsov, played by Aleksei Serebryakov. This starts the plot in motion.
There are a few twists and turns along the way, that keep the movie entertaining for the 90ish minutes that it runs for. Nothing completely original but it’s fun. This is essentially Falling Down mixed with a hell of a lot of Rambo. The final sequence could have easily been lifted straight from a Rambo film. It’s loud, full of violence, death and explosions.
There is a lack of subtly in it’s character dynamics. There is literally a wall of pillows between Hutch and his wife, showing their distant marriage, which she removes once he starts to find himself again. While things may be painted out to you a lot during the early parts, at the same time, the little hints that it gives you to Hutch’s past before the whole thing is revealed is really well done. It’s little things at first. He knows the exact type of gun the people who broke in used. It’s enough to make you think why would he know that, without taking you out of the film. It then builds and builds to the big reveal which is masterfully played out with humour as everyone he tells about his past dies during the exposition dump.
It works for the most part and it is definitely entertaining. Once it gets going there is a lot of humour. There were a few moments where everyone in the cinema was laughing out loud. It does take a while for the tone to settle. For the first half hour, I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be a comedy or a gritty drama about a man on a mission. The fight on the bus towards the beginning is rough and violent. It’s not slapstick, but a well choreographed fight that makes you believe that Odenkirk could be an action hero. After this the film starts to take itself a lot less seriously and the comedy ramps up. It’s a good blend and it works well.
Nobody is a really good film, it’s funny at times and thrilling at others, but it is so close to being an excellent film. There is just something lacking. Bob Odenkirk does a good job as the lead role, but you will wish that he was having more fun with the role. Hutch is barely a character. He has little to no personality and if there was more to him that would elevate the film to another level. Another thing is the way it is presented. It’s bland. There isn’t anything that stands out visually. This film is begging to be a spectacle to look at with action popping off the screen, but it just isn’t. There is a moment towards the end with music when Hutch is driving. It really makes it clear that the film is missing a great jukebox soundtrack to punctuate the violence. I feel that if Nobody had more personality throughout then this would become a comedy/action classic.
I know a lot of people are going to love this film, and it is definitely worth a watch. This is pure escapism and is full of great set pieces and scenes. The fights are well shot and the film moves at a steady pace. If there was more to it, then it would be a must see. It’s enjoyable, and I hope this won’t be forgotten quickly. That would be a shame as it is so close to being a great film. It’s worth watching just to see Christopher Lloyd with a shotgun, which is something I didn’t know that I needed to see.