Review by Cassie Jo Ochoa
When Universal greenlit the latest “vigilante you don’t want to mess with” film, Nobody, they had already assembled some of the best men of their fields for the job. Writer Derek Kolstad is the man who brought the blockbuster franchise John Wick to the big screen and revitalized Keanu Reeves’s career, and director Ilya Naishuller exploded on the scene with the head-spinning Hardcore Henry. With a trailer that boasts the impressive action scenes audiences crave, it’s bound to be a good time, right? Well yes, Nobody is an excellent time, but it does have one trick up its sleeve in terms of the narrative. Nobody takes the standard tropes and boils them down to the barest potential storytelling. How far can an audience connect to a deliberate nobody?
Bob Odenkirk stars as a man named Hutch Mansell, who lives a routine (if not unfulfilling) life and works in the office of his father-in-law’s company. He has an increasingly distant wife and two kids who love when their dad cooks veggie lasagna. While the whole family is supposed to be asleep, two thieves break into their house, and a dramatic confrontation is clearly on the way. Except really it’s not, as the two thieves make off with a watch and less than a hundred dollars in cash while Hutch sits in the police lights as a rage boils inside him. What follows is a man on the edge as a fire sparked inside him leads to corpses and crashed cars all over the city.
The film’s constant references to Hutch as a nobody is both the cleverest aspect and the film’s most bizarre element. As the trail of violence gets longer and longer it’s hard not to read the movie itself as a parody of the John Wick-esque vigilante films, except Nobody plays it completely straight. The film drops small nuggets of information that not all is what it seems…unless you watched the trailer, which drops all the backstory in less than thirty seconds. It’s truly a miracle that the film can carry itself from action setpiece to action setpiece without laughing at the incredulity of it all. A lot of that should be credited to Odenkirk, who can toe the line between bland family man and the violent energy just under the surface. It’s around the time that the villainous and outlandish Yulian (Aleksey Serebryakov) makes his way into the story that Nobody finally hits its groove story-wise. Without going into spoilers, it’s safe to say that everyone in the cast gets a stand-out moment, but Christopher Lloyd really gets a chance to shine as Hutch’s father.
Nobody is a blast – a film that breezes through a crisp ninety-minute runtime and leaves you wanting more. Seeing Bob Odenkirk as an action hero is a delight, and the film rewards his hard work with some killer fight sequences in addition to smaller moments of the dramatics that has made him an Emmy winner. Still, how much you like the film almost entirely relies on how willing you are to let Hutch release the boredom of his life on the bodies of one-dimensional bad guys.