Starring Bob Odenkirk of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul in a ridiculously fun John Wick-esque role, Nobody is a fresh entry into the action genre that will leave you craving a sequel or two.
Director Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody will have your eyes glued to the screen from start to finish, while also managing to pull off a tone that is not particularly heavy. With a sharp clever interpretation of fights and the other typicalities of action films, the film promises a viewing that is deliciously lacking in overtly executed tropes. The film’s delightful, snappy pace of happenstance is also lifted by an expert cast and humorous lines that land on almost every attempt.
“I’m a Nobody”
Bob Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a seemingly harmless man who has chosen to leave a violent past behind him. When we first meet Hutch, we watch a snappy montage as he runs through boring daily repetition. Hutch tops up his transit card. Hutch goes to work. Hutch misses the garbage man. Hutch does pull-ups at the beam of a bus stop – he seems to be able to clock up an impressive number. He is the perfect Nobody, and by choice. Hutch is a family man and goes home to his wife Becca (played by Connie Nielsen) and his two children, Blake (Gage Munroe) and Abby (Paisley Cadorath). And as with the life of many Nobodys, Hutch’s and Becca’s marriage is lifeless.
All seems in order until burglars break into his family home one night and the situation sees him at gunpoint. And yet, just when Hutch’s son Blake manages to get hold of one of the burglars, he orders his son to let them go. The sequence that follows shows a world of disappointment that Hutch now faces for his seeming inaction, both from his family, and even a police officer who had attended to the scene. Nothing spurs him to violence until he learns that his daughter’s kitty cat bracelet was one of the items that the burglars made away with.
From this point, the plot progresses seamlessly into revealing Hutch’s past. The exposition is natural and occurs in an event-by-event fashion, saving us a load of flashbacks and keeping us guessing about who this Nobody really is. It is not long before Hutch is deeply embroiled in newfound trouble, with the Russian mob on his tail.
There is plenty to be appreciated in how we learn about Hutch’s past not because it is catching up with him, but because there are new incidents revealing just how much of an insanely cool action hero Hutch really is. With that said, Nobody is not exactly the story of an average dude forced into the position of going bad or vigilante – which is what Breaking Bad unravels marvellously.
Odenkirk is absolutely divine in this role, displaying vivid range both when he is a broken man, and when he is a man you just love to see get angry. His seasoned acting makes both ends equally believable, and it is a definite treat getting to watch a man of his stature pull off some insane physical choreography that relies on physical violence as much as it does on smart execution that enemies just will not see coming.
At one point of watching, my friend turns to me and says, “Whoever choreographed these has definitely been in some real fights.” The action in Nobody is a bag of treats that leaves you begging for more, especially in a genre climate riddled with repetitive sequences, mindless fun and sequels that are really just there to cash in on franchise value.
Tidbits, cookie crumbs, and more violent candy.
The key supporting cast of Nobody just adds to the exhilarating fun of the experience, with Aleksey Serebryakov playing the Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov, and delightful appearances by RZA and Christopher Lloyd who are part of Hutch’s secret vigilante family. Lloyd is used to perfection for all his charismatic charm as a dangerously cool old man action star, a far cry from the comedic roles we are used to seeing him in.
You should also look forward to the apt composition of David Buckley, who truly wields his music as a weapon. It is thematically glorious and functions far beyond just being skin or an overlay for sequences in the film. There are peaks and dips in the music that you will cling on to for how poetically they amplify moments in the film.
The screenplay by Derek Kolstad is sharp and humorous, with the ability to send you bawling with laughter at one moment and gripping to your seat the next as you wait for the suspense to unfold.
And if you are a fan of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, there are plenty of almost-parallels that the movie draws from, almost as if to tease and leave you analysing numerous moments for Easter eggs. Like, from the very moment that you see Christopher Lloyd resting in a nursing home. As a Breaking Bad fan myself, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Please tell me I’m going to see half of someone’s face get blown off?” Nobody will not disappoint in this aspect, while doing especially well in making clear distinctions that prove it is not relying on any of the well-loved points or tropes of the two series.
Nobody featuring Bob Odenkirk is well worth a trip to the theatre to take the edge off of a stressful work week. It is funny, smart, and unfolds in a manner that is unique. And best of all, you do not need to be an action fan to adore Nobody. But, do yourself a favour and give the trailer a miss – it reveals a little too much, and part of the magic of this film is how the plot unravels.