There’s no worse feeling than being treated like a nobody. Especially when it’s from your own family. Take Hutch Mansell, played by Bob Odenkirk. His job is boring, his wife and him are never intimate, and his son has no respect for him. All the while, he lives under the shadow of his brother-in-law and father. It’s certainly bleak stuff, but it is necessary. In Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody, we see Hutch go through one incredible progression. Starting out as a meek family man and slowly turning into a deranged, violent figure, forced into a convoluted plot against some Russian drug lords. While at the same time, Hutch never loses his humanity. If anything, his new cruel nature is done for the right reason. Protecting the family he loves and cares about.
All of this makes Nobody a brutal, often hilarious action film. Thanks to both Naishuller’s manic direction and Odenkirk’s subtle performance, this will certainly be a cult classic in the years to come. Whether it be the layered action choreography or funny looks at suburbia, there is something here for any action lover.
A Surprise Action Star
The big hook for this film is its unconventional lead. People know Bob Odenkirk for his dramatic and comedic work over the years, and him taking on the role of action star is just as seamless. Not just in the physicality and abilities, but even in terms of personality. Because the movie purports him as a regular nobody, there’s some fun in juxtaposition here. Beginning with his daily routines, when Hutch moves into action hero mode, there’s a delightful awkwardness in his appearance. It allows a unique type of hero, and gives several moments a distinct amount of elevation.
As Hutch goes on, he becomes more and more violent and unpredictable. This momentum is further sold by Odenkirk’s delivery, as his confidence and skills improve from each scene. Odenkirk portrays this growth well, but it never seems forced nor does he go into unlikable territory. If anything, Odenkirk is having a total blast throughout the whole piece, playing with two different halves. Frankly, this is just another showcase on why the man is one of the best actors working today.
Really, what makes Ilya Naishuller’s film works is the story development. Mainly, how the film grows from scene to scene. Beginning with the mundanity of suburbia and ending with an action-packed climax, the movie gets more and more insane and devious with each scene. It’s like a sneak attack, albeit with the audience aware crazy stuff will go down. This works incredibly well, offering viewers a fun, manic film with deliberate, well-timed choreography.
The one scene most will remember after this viewing will likely be one action scene on a bus, serving as the midpoint of the film. Everything that makes this movie work is on display here. Bob Odenkirk begins in a low-key manner, only to grow more bloodhungry as the scene goes on. The fights are brutal and bloody, with several creative weapons utilized. The location is a creative one, as Naishuller uses all aspects of the bus for clever action or creative set pieces. And the editing is frenetic, helping give a greater sense of atmosphere and insanity.
This is produced by John Wick‘s David Leitch, and it’s easy to see his influence here. And the film is all the better for it.
To Sum Up…
Nobody is a very simple movie. Yet it’s still a highly effective one all the same. There’s plenty for both action junkies and Bob Odenkirk fans, all wrapped up in a stylish, no-holds-barred caper. It’s a perfect fit for the John Wick and Atomic Blonde team, and it’s certain that Ilya Naishuller has a bright future ahead of him. And if this leads to even more recognition of Odenkirk’s amazing talents, the film is even better.
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