Hyper-violent action, humour, and a ripping soundtrack await those that venture to see Nobody. This is undoubtedly one of this year’s biggest surprise packets. “Nobody” sure becomes somebody – somebody to be reckoned with.
Bob Odenkirk is Hutch Mansell, a seemingly mild-mannered husband and father whose life is drab and routine. Nothing to see here. In fact, the early scenes are positively boring, as is director Ilya Naishuller’s wont. And then late one night Hutch spots two armed robbers in his house. Suddenly, the tables are turned. Hutch’s son Blake (Gage Munroe) even tackles and subdues the male assailant. But Hutch has a change of heart and tells Blake to back off, allowing the crooks to get away.
Hutch’s inaction becomes the talk of the town and Hutch himself is clearly embarrassed by it. But there’s more here than meets the eye. It turns out that Hutch used to be an “auditor” for the FBI and gave up the job to settle in to family life. But “auditor” is a pseudonym for the clean-up guy – the one the FBI turns to when everything else has gone pear-shaped. He could be one mean mother.
Blake couldn’t possibly envisage that side of his father. And yet the intrusion on his “domestic bliss” has lit that fuse again. Just how fired up Hutch can get is shown when he tackles five young punks on a bus. And things ramp up several notches from there as a cocky Russian mobster and his hoods meet Hutch head on.
Odenkirk (probably best known for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul) plays a man possessed. I couldn’t help but admire his performance. I’ve never seen Christopher Lloyd (Dr Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future series) quite like he appears in Nobody. He plays Hutch’s father and, like his son, he has two distinct sides to his persona. It’s also impossible not to notice Aleksey Serebryakov as Julian, the brash, bold and belligerent strong-arm man and drug lord. He makes a big impression from when he first appears on screen. Somewhat underdone (in underwritten roles) are Gage Munroe as Blake and Connie Nielsen as Hutch’s wife, Becca.
The man behind the John Wick franchise, Derek Kolstad, has crafted another mercenary character in Hutch. After a rather tepid start, Kolstad throws everything at the film. Once it moves out of first gear, Nobody is pacey, pulsating and punishing. David Buckley is responsible for the music and has mixed classics with contemporary material, enlivening an already impressive offering.
If you can handle the excessive violence, there’s a lot to like in Nobody.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.