“This girl is gonna get home safe tonight. I hope these assholes like hospital food.”
Story: Hutch Mansell is a typical suburban nebbish. Nobody takes him seriously, everybody passes him by, even his family doesn’t pay much attention to him, excepting his adorable young daughter. All that changes one night when burglars break into his house. He does nothing, which disappoints his wife and son. That disappointment – along with years of taking not-so-subtle digs from everyone around him – flips his switch to killer. Like the one he’d been before he gave it all up. Get ready; as Paul Thomas Anderson might say, there will be blood.
Genre I’d put it in: Surprise Badass Actioners
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Original, though this is written by Derek Kolstad, the guy who brought us John Wick.
Gotta say: This movie is bloody delightful. (Literally) You’re going to enjoy every second. I know, cuz I did. Nobody is a wild ride with no seat belts and no quarter given. There’s comic book-level violence here. Nah, scratch that; manga-level violence. Batshit crazy, “there’s no way this would actually work in real life”-level violence. Mythbusters-level violence. But that’s the glory of these kinds of movies. We’re in it for the good guy giving a Class A beat-down to the baddies. And boy howdy does Nobody deliver.
But first, I gotta come clean to y’all; I’ve never seen any of the John Wick films. I heard about the puppy, and I couldn’t do it…and so figured I’d miss some carry over in the sequels. I’ve seen bits, and loved those bits. But, well. Now you know. So when the creators of Wick dropped this film into my lap? I couldn’t wait to see it. And I can’t wait to see it again. I’m buying this one y’all. No question.
The set-up for Hutch’s breakdown/re-birth into the killer he was is a slow burn. Director Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry) keeps a simmering boil coasting through the beginning of the film with his rapid-fire edits (kudos to Evan Schiff and William Yeh for that whipsmart editing) that show the passage of time and the monotonous repetitiveness of Hutch’s life. Writer Kolstad uses first person narrative voiceover to communicate what Hutch is thinking, and the pitch-black comedic feel of the dialogue works beautifully with what’s going on (or about to go down) on screen. Cinematographer/DP Pawel Porgozelski (Midsommar) shines light on the darkest scenes, letting us see what’s happening while allowing the grit and grime to hit us even during night shots. I’m reminded of the cinematographer triumverate from Akira Kurosawa’s films, Asakazu Nakai, Takao Saitô, and Shôji Ueda; Porgozelski nails that level of color and darkness, lightness and blood.
Then there’s Odenkirk. Y’all have seen Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, yes? Sure you have. So you know this man can flip a switch like nobody’s business. Odenkirk plays the hapless schmuck with deadpan earnestness through the first third of the film…and then pow. He’s cold as ice, and absolutely lethal. Okay, so he takes a bit to warm up – the scene on the bus that ushers in his killer streak is filled with missed opportunities and hits that Hutch takes and takes and takes. But just like Bruce Lee in a film climax, after that beat down, boy does he get it back. It’s realistic as hell, as he gets almost as good as he gives. Almost. And it’s violence that in no way glorifies violence. It’s dirty, wobbly, and messy. A fight nobody in their right mind would want to participate in. And that’s the point. That smile on Hutch’s face when he decides to let loose? It’s sinister, thankful, longing for release, and more than a little sad. He knows what’s going to happen, and how that’s going to change him. Though he longs for release, he’s also dreading it. Damn Odenkirk delivers here. Don’t get started on the delightful duo of Christopher Lloyd and RZA – Hutch’s dad and BFF/stepbrother, who keep the ol’ ultraviolence (and deadpan humor) all in the family.
I watched this movie during a total downpour. It was a dreary, rainy day. I figured I’d just kick back and let a film wash over me. But by the first few minutes, I was all in. And when the action started? I had no knowledge of anything other than what was going on onscreen. Nobody is the kind of film that’ll pull you in, and you’ll go willingly. Happily. Need some adrenaline right about now? Yeah you do. Here it is. You’re welcome.
#Protip: Did you check out Bob Odenkirk’s buff bod? I sure did (and boy howdy does my soft bod longs to get back to the gym…) He worked OUT y’all.