Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Film Review: Nobody


Sexuality/Nudity Acceptable
Violence Mature
Vulgarity Mature
Anti-Catholic Philosophy Mature

All men want to be dangerous.

This is something I have found to be universally true.  It isn't that men necessarily want to be violent.  In fact, I would imagine most of us would avoid a physical fight if we can.  But all men want to believe that they are capable of inflicting great violence should the need arise.

This is what made the movie Taken such a hit.  The original premise for that film was simple and primal: fathers want to believe that if their daughters are in danger that they can kill their way to the top to rescue her.  

Nobody taps into a similar vein.  

Nobody is the story of Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk).  He is a middle-aged, put-upon, workaday person.  His wife (Connie Nielsen) is distant from him.  His teen son Blake (Gage Munroe) thinks he is a loser.  Only his little girl Abby (Paisley Cadorath) looks up to him.  One day there is a home invasion.  Hutch chooses not to fight the burglars, much to the chagrin of his family.  This leads to a series of events where Hutch finally has enough.  It turns out that he is actually a deadly assassin living in anonymous retirement.  But because of an intense desire for vengeance, he ends up accosting members of the Russian mob who are harassing an innocent girl on a bus.  This sets the mob against him in an escalating ladder of violence.

If the story sounds similar to John Wick, it is.  The script is from the same writer Derek Kolstad and it has the same story beats of a man pushed too far to hold in his deadly skills.  But unlike John Wick, Nobody does not take itself as seriously.  While the world of assassins in John Wick is fantastic and arguably absurd, that movie series also treats that world with deadly gravity.  Nobody leans much more into the comedic elements.  The further you get into the story, the more over-the-top it becomes.  The final showdown is like an R-Rated Home Alone.

This comedic tone is not necessarily a bad thing.  Nobody is actually incredibly fun to watch.  As I wrote, it taps into that primal vein of wanting to be dangerous.  This film is pure catharsis for that sentiment.  It really scratches that itch.

Odenkirk is fantastic.  He gives the best performance of his that I have seen.  He is both funny and believable in the role.  He reminds me of Bruce Willis in the original Die Hard.  But whereas John MacLane became more of an invincible super hero as the series went on.  Hutch is clearly a fantastic killer, but age has caught up with him and you can tell his is pushing past his prime.  You can feel the ache in his bones.  I also got a particular kick out of Christopher Lloyd as Hutch's father.

The fight choreography is as good as anything in John Wick, which makes this a real visual treat.  The villains are very one-dimensional and are forgettably generic, except for Pavel (Araya Mengesha), who looks like he has an interesting backstory, but is not in enough of the movie.

Nobody lacks any heavy substance.  It's casual attitude towards violence is treated with very little gravity, unlike John Wick, which actually meditates on the price such violence has on the soul.  

But sometimes you just want to watch stuff blow up.  And that's what you will get with Nobody.

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