Nobody (2021)
Nobody (2021)

Genre: Action and Crime Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.

Release Date: March 26th, 2021 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Ilya Naishuller Actors: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, RZA, Alexey Serebryakov

 


 

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n a typical Monday, Hutch Mansell’s (Bob Odenkirk) tedious routines begin, leading to week after week of his morning run, his daily commute, his monotonous job as an auditor, coming home to be ignored by his children, and finally falling asleep next to his wife, who likewise pays him no attention, aided by a barricade of pillows. And then it repeats all over again. But one night, when two burglars break in, Hutch is put in a particularly precarious situation – one that he handles in an extremely unusual manner. Although he gets the upper hand, thanks to his son Blake (Gage Munroe) managing to overtake one of the intruders, Hutch chooses to let the attackers go – with a handful of cash and his worthless though sentimental wristwatch.

The police are a bit flabbergasted by Hutch’s actions, confused as to why he wouldn’t slaughter the burglars with the golf club he had at the ready. Blake is equally surprised, viewing the maneuver as an act of cowardice rather than leniency (or mercy), while Hutch’s wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) maintains her standard air of disappointment. Fortunately, the Mansells’ youngest child, Abby (Paisley Cadorath), wasn’t a part of the action and doesn’t harbor any opinions. “I was just trying to keep damage to a minimum,” Hutch reasons unconvincingly.

Despite Hutch appearing as a henpecked, rundown, depressed family man/everyman, lost in an abundance of normalcy and wearisome uniformity, it’s not long before the film reveals that he’s not so ordinary (but is it a “Death Wish” or “RED” scenario?). In fact, he’s quite extraordinary, not unlike the basic gimmick in “Taken,” in which a seemingly average character secrets a strikingly formidable set of skills. Alternatively, there’s a hint of “The Incredibles” or Superman or Batman, in which superheroes conceal their superhuman qualities behind mundane alter egos. However, even that common presentation is tossed aside soon enough; there’s even more over-the-top craziness lurking here, under the veneer of mediocrity.

While “Nobody” allows for some guilty-pleasure revenge fantasy, very much along the lines of “John Wick” (or “The Equalizer” or “Shoot ‘Em Up” or Rambo’s various adventures), its opening act is a puzzlement. It’s a little too conflicted, a little too familiar, and incredibly farfetched. Essentially, it’s a twisty, somewhat eccentric take on the boilerplate spy yarn; a well-connected, well-informed, highly-trained operative must combat the equally well-connected, well-informed gangster with unlimited resources and goons. Strangely, just as little of it is original, the longer the bloody action goes on for (and escalates), the less it stays engaging. The catchily unharmonious music, slow-motion, and intermittent shots of creative editing aren’t enough to prevent the increasing morbidity from overwhelming the wisps of humor and the gratifying violence.

It’s difficult not to occasionally enjoy the mayhem, especially when it’s directed toward generic villains, but its excessiveness borders on the same tedium of Hutch’s 9-to-5 job. At least the hero’s laughable brazenness works nicely against the severity, but the comic sensibilities – especially with Odenkirk in the lead – are rarely able to counteract the pervasive barbarousness. This recognizable actor isn’t given the chance to chew up the scenery with clever dialogue like in his prior roles. And the finale (derivative of too many pictures to list), though entertaining in its gratuitous bloodshed and he-man firepower, reaffirms a conspicuous lack of storytelling in favor of action-packed tumult.

– Mike Massie

  • 5/10