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NOBODY gets 4/10 A dish served cold


Directed by Ilya Naishuller

Starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksey Serebryakov, Christopher Lloyd

4/10

Nobody is advertised as being from the producer of John Wick, though the whole time you’ll just want to watch any of the John Wicks instead as this is clearly inferior. The violence and action is unimpressive, there’s very little back-story or lore to keep us interested, and it tries way too hard to be “badass” and fails at it (John Wick is badass without trying much at all).

The titular nobody is Hutch (Bob Odenkirk), who is apparently a very normal, yet vaguely unsatisfied man, working a dull job so he can put food on the table for his family (in their suspiciously upper-class house). But his volatile and violent past is about to be busted open after a number of injustices against him get him caught up with a local Russian mob hell-bent on taking him down. Too bad he’s a nobody – a nobody with incredible skills in hand-to-hand combat and weaponry.

The action scenes are terrible, which is an unfortunate thing to say about any action film. The fight scene on the bus is not only awkwardly contrived to even make this plot-point/action-scene happen, but it’s derivative and unexciting, ripping off The Raid 2 and making it worse. The ending shoot-out has some nifty gadgets used here and there, which finally introduces a semblance of fun into the film, but it’s still often badly composed, particularly with the Christopher Lloyd character walking around avoiding the many, many speeding bullets.

The film’s tone is often a cringe-worthy level of try-hard, heaping on the edginess. There are a handful of scenes that are worth a chuckle, but the film seems to be aimed at people who think swearing is really rebellious. Odenkirk tries his best to look badass, and he does have that kind of ambivalence about him that could suggest he has a killer’s past. But that sort of feeling works better in something nuanced like Better Call Saul, rather than in here where when he lets out a “badass” line, it’s not supposed to sound unconvincing. Plus so many of the film’s stylistic decisions get tiresome real quick – the use of pop songs old and new during violent scenes works well when used with any kind of intelligence, but Nobody just throws them in there to see if they stick, over and over, and it gets old the first time.

With little to excite from the fights and shootouts and little to interest with a protagonist whose characterisation is only hinted at, Nobody takes from various other films (A History of Violence, Mandy, You Were Never Really Here) and does not improve on them. The idea of taking out your anger on undesirables in an ultra-violent way has been explored numerously in even recent cinema – it can even be done with a strongly felt moral compass or in a clearly enjoyable exploitation manner, but Nobody seems to opt out of either.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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