The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Cinema] - NOBODY | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review [Cinema] - NOBODY

nobody review
A suburban Dad with a dark past is forced to return to the life he left behind.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ilya Naishuller

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

nobody poster

With Nobody, director Ilya Naishuller and writer Derek Kolstad do for vigilante action flicks what Coralie Fargeat did for rape-revenge thrillers with Revenge. As with that French film, Nobody takes a disreputable genre and rehabilitates it by embracing its appeal to the recesses of our lizard brains while commenting on and having playful fun with its tropes.

It's 2021. We're supposed to be above the notion of a mild-mannered hero taking on "the scum", but are we really? Who among us hasn't fantasised about beating seven bells out of the obnoxious group of drunken frat boys who make everyone's late night bus ride an endurance test? Umm, just me? Really? I don't believe you.

nobody review

Nobody succeeds largely for the same reason Eli Roth's Death Wish remake failed. Roth made the amateur mistake of casting Bruce Willis in the role of the everyman turned ass-kicker, which is a bit like casting Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. That film couldn't shake off Willis's action hero baggage, making it impossible to view him as an ordinary bloke pushed to the edge.


Here, Naishuller casts Bob Odenkirk in the role of his humble family man turned one-man army protagonist. Odenkirk is the sort of actor you wouldn't look twice at if you passed him in the street, and you certainly wouldn't think of him as an action hero. This is what makes Nobody so much fun, watching this average Joe transform into a ruthless killing machine.

nobody review

In a rapidly edited montage, Nobody outlines the drudgery of the existence of Odenkirk's wonderfully named Hutch Mansell. He wakes in the morning, forgets to put the bins out, takes the bus to work, sits in a dreary office all day before returning home to a dinner with his disinterested family, eventually flopping into bed beside his wife (Connie Nielsen, who looks much more of a traditional action star than Odenkirk), who is either already asleep or pretending that's the case. Rinse, wash, repeat.


Hutch's life is shaken up when he disturbs a pair of balaclava-ed burglars late one night. Despite his teenage son tackling one of the intruders to the ground, Hutch insists that the thieves simply leave, making him a wuss in his son's eyes. After being mocked for his inaction by everyone from the investigating cops to his macho co-workers, something snaps in Hutch that makes him set out to face the burglars. Little does he know that this will inadvertently lead him into a war with the local branch of the Russian Mafia.

nobody review

Nobody is a movie of two halves. The first half, which charts Hutch's transformation into a psycho whose every body part should be registered as a lethal weapon, is an absolute blast. Naishuller (whose previous film, Hardcore Henry, I found insufferable) draws inspiration from Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies, with Odenkirk taking a beating even Bruce Campbell might wince at. Like Raimi, Naishuller takes the sort of violence you might find in a Three Stooges short and twists it into bone-crunching, hard-hitting action. The film's much vaunted centrepiece is a mass brawl in the confines of a bus, and Naishuller and his fight coordinators find multiple imaginative ways to create chaos in such a confined setting. By the midway point, you'll never look at Odenkirk in the same way again.

It's at that point however, that Nobody becomes less interesting. Odenkirk's Hutch has essentially morphed from a comic book Paul Kersey into Liam Neeson's Taken protagonist, and the film struggles to replicate the fun of watching a suburban schlub turn into a wrecking ball on legs. When a generic bunch of Russian stereotypes enter the picture, the movie begins to resemble the sort of straight to video schlock it's playfully referencing. Things are eventually enlivened once more in a cleverly staged action climax, where every tool in Hutch's workplace is turned into a weapon. Oh, and you get to see an 80-year-old Christopher Lloyd kicking ass as Hutch's ex-FBI agent father to the strains of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

Nobody is in UK/ROI cinemas now.



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