TL;DR – An incredible violent romp through the suburbs after the Russian mob picked the wrong man to come after.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene.
Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.
Nobody Review –
When John Wick first blasted onto the scene, it was this dramatic shift in how action movies could be presented. Instead of a disjointed mess, there was flow. Instead of shying away from the realities, you saw it all up close and personal. Many films have tried to copy that style with mixed success, but today we look at a movie that nails it, and all it took was the same writer and producer to make it happen.
So to set the scene, the film opens with Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk), a man who goes through the same dull routine each week (which makes it surprising that he can’t remember to put out the rubbish). There is a growing distance between him and his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) that is exacerbated when the house is robbed, and Hutch lets his son Blake (Gage Munroe) get punched rather than take someone out with a golf club. But while the world sees Hutch as mild-mannered, or more clearly a wimp, he is actually a former CIA wet work expert known as an Auditor, which local Russian Mafia boss Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksei Serebryakov) discovers the hard way when he comes after Hutch and his family.
Right from the start of this film, we see that a lot of care and attention has gone into the production as we see Hutch’s daily routine play out day after day. This grounds his reality also introduces us to most of the supporting players in the film. The way it is edited reinforces the sheer monotony of his life, the struggles in his marriage, and that he has continued to keep fit. It is an excellent use of visual storytelling as well as showing off the film’s editors strength. They also use this style to bring to light aspects of action films that you could not show at the traditional PG-13 rating. Like a scene in Red when you see a group of men go into a suburban house to take down a retired asset only to see the flashes of light from the outside as he takes them down. In this film, we get all that violence up close and personal. Or indeed, what happened if Home Alone has access to gunpowder?
That opening montage brings you into this world, but it also starts to build tension, another thing this film does very well. For an action film, it is odd that the first real moment of conflict comes about twenty minutes into the film. But for that entire runtime, it is slowly building the tension and giving you hints of Hutch’s skills. The moment that Teddy (Aleksandr Pal) and his goons enter that bus, you know what is about to happen, and there is a level of anticipation for both you the viewer and Hutch narratively. Many small touches lead into this feeling, like discovering that Hutch did not attack the robbers not because they had a gun drawn on his son, but because he knew the gun was empty, and as such, they posed no threat to him.
With the action, you get to see it on full display in that opening fight that uses every aspect of the location to make it work. Setting it on a bus limits the options for everyone involved because of the tight area. One of my big concerns with this film was that while I was sure that Bob Odenkirk would have the acting chops to pull off this role, I did not know if he would have the physicality to be convincing. But I should not have worried because even though he spends the whole film in almost work clothes, you feel that physicality in every scene. I should also point out the stunt team’s strength because they go for it and some of those hits create a visceral reaction. At least one moment involves an arm going somewhere where an arm should not, which I am sure will make the entire cinema give a grown.
While Bob Odenkirk is the cornerstone of the production and is fantastic in that role, I also want to take a moment to shout out the supporting cast. It is an absolute delight to see Christopher Lloyd on the big screen again, and he captivates every scene he is in. I liked RZA as Harry Mansell, this sort of fly on the wall that knows about everything and is almost Hutch’s conscious. Then we have Aleksei Serebryakov that can shift from whimsical to horrifying in an instant.
While I referred to John Wick at the start of the review, the one thing I could not get out of my head as I watched this is how similar it was to the first film, and I mean narratively, not just stylistically. Our main character is a former assassin that gave up their lives to start a family. That retirement is jeopardised when a Russian Mafia leader has to retaliate against our protagonist because of a family member’s stupidity. Some other key plot bits link, but that would be getting into spoiler territory. It was so connected that when Hutch pulled out a secret supply of gold, I was surprised it was gold bars and not coins. Thankfully the similarities don’t torpedo this film, but they do hold it back.
In the end, do we recommend Nobody? Yes, yes, we do. This is a film that manages the tension well, brings the action to bear when it needs, and manages to be serious with enough lighter moments to give the audience an emotional rest before it gets dark again. Bob Odenkirk shows that he has the physicality to be an excellent action star, and I will be interested to see more of this in a sequel.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Nobody
Directed by – Ilya Naishuller
Written by – Derek Kolstad
Music by – David Buckley
Cinematography by – Pawel Pogorzelski
Edited by – William Yeh & Evan Schiff
Production/Distribution Companies – 87North Productions, Eighty Two Films, Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment, Perfect World Pictures & Universal Pictures
Starring – Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, RZA, Billy MacLellan, Araya Mengesha, Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath, Aleksandr Pal, Humberly González, Edsson Morales, J.P. Manoux, Adrian McLean, Ilya Naishuller, Sergey Shnurov, Joanne Rodriguez, Stephanie Sy & Megan Best
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: na; New Zealand: R; United Kingdom: na; United States: R