The 400-Word Review: Nobody
By Sean Collier
March 29, 2021
There are good reasons to watch “Nobody.” Whatever you do, however, don’t think about it.
If you merely watch the film, letting it pass over you in the way a vaguely interested beer vendor would regard a demolition derby as he paces the grandstand, it has merit. Crisp, lively fight sequences find the nexus point between action, humor and gore. A deliberate lead performance, by Bob Odenkirk, recalls classic antiheroes while adding a shade of wry glee.
But don’t think about it.
If you think about it, this is a movie that does not merely believe that violence is redemptive, it celebrates orgies of murder as perhaps the most cathartic, restorative force in the universe. It is the philosophy of “Nobody” that life is little more than rage deferred, as we await an excuse to kill those around us, so that we might truly live.
If you’d like to enjoy the film, then: Don’t think about it.
We meet our hyper-violent protagonist, Hutch Mantell (Odenkirk), in a time of stagnation; he’s got a respectable middle-management gig and the trappings of success, but feels distant from his wife (Connie Nielsen) and frustrated with the middle-age grind. When a pair of small-time crooks invades his suburban home one night, we begin to get hints that there’s more to this balding dad than meets the eye.
Interestingly (or at least unusually), that’s the actual subject of the film. Inevitably, we get around to introducing a big bad and placing innumerable disposable bodies in front of Hutch, but that’s beside the point. (Thus rendering the entire climax superfluous, by the way, but what can you do?) No, the narrative thrust here is revealing who, precisely, Hutch is; the subject of the film is slowly introducing the main character to the audience.
That’s an odd choice, but it does provide more than enough thrust to keep a quick movie intriguing. “Nobody” is nothing if not watchable (unless, y’know, you object to a bit of the old ultra-violence), and those fight scenes are worth the price of admission. Visually intriguing mayhem is the lone talent of director Ilya Naishuller, whose previous effort, “Hardcore Henry,” was equally bloody and bold.
And equally depraved, come to think of it. These are not films that can be defended narratively; inasmuch as they are worthwhile, they work as artful violence for the intellectually detached.
Stated simply: Don’t think about it.
My Rating: 6/10
“Nobody” is playing in theaters. If attending an in-person movie screening, please consider an outdoor cinema near you to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19.