Nobody (2021) REVIEW
Nobody is an action thriller starring Bob Odenkirk (‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Better Call Saul’) who plays suburban father, Hutch Mansell. After failing to defend his family during a home invasion, Hutch reaches his wits end and releases his repressed, violent urges sustained from a shady, undisclosed past. During his rampage, he crosses paths with the son of a Russian gang leader which opens a thrilling can of worms as bone-crunching action, unlikely alliances and tense standoffs ensue.
Far From Generic
On the face, through promos and trailers for example, Nobody is your stereotypical action flick which seems to have no particularly unique points or characters to separate it from the pack. However, you would be wrong in assuming this as the film is far more than generic. Now the formulaic plot betrays this, but the balance of comedy, dark and light-hearted, the gritty realism of some of the action, and the overall tone separates the film from its stagnant competition.
In comparison to modern action thrillers such as John Wick (2014), Nobody is more realistic, and Mansell is a more relatable character given his suburban, middle class lifestyle. These two movies of course share the same raucous of action and violence, but Nobody actually shows Mansell struggling with his opposition. In John Wick, John is only ever truly injured by knives and bullets whereas Mansell is bombarded by heavy punches and manoeuvres which leave him worse for wear.
[some SPOILERS ahead]
Hutch Mansell – family man or outlaw?
The character of Hutch is an interesting concoction of family man and violent outlaw which is a great dynamic not always done justice in action films. The opening scene instils this outlaw aspect as Hutch sits in a police interview room visibly scraped and injured whereas the second scene, deduced as a flashback, serves as a contradiction. Here, we see a montage of Hutch’s monotonous, suburban family lifestyle before the fact. He holds a boring job as an auditor and keeps on missing the garbage truck. This last detail forms an imbalance that has become routine to suggest that mundane life is not suited to Hutch which supposedly leads to the arresting opening scene.
Hutch’s family is the only pillar of stability in his chaotic world and his daughter’s loss of her keyring epitomises this as he searches for the culprits in merciless fashion only to find it was under his sofa the whole time. Therefore, it is clear that Hutch will do anything for family or at least after his rude awakening at the hands of the armed robbers.
Family is integral to the story as seen in the numerous side characters especially towards the end with Mansell’s father played by Christopher Lloyd (‘Back To The Future’) proving himself a formidable force contrary to his old age. One of the most surprising cameos in this film was in the form of Ansell’s brother played by veteran rapper/producer The RZA (from the Wu Tang Clan) who rallies with Hutch to combat the Russian mob. This unlikely trio may reunite and form the basis of a sequel film, which has not been announced yet.
From Better Call Saul to Nobody
Bob Odenkirk is a criminally underrated actor and gives an awesome performance as an action-man which could develop even further with a possible sequel. I have always admired Odenkirk which is evident in my numerous reviews of Better Call Saul and now he has branched out into action movies he has proven adaptability and versatility. From comedy acting to dramatic acting Odenkirk has performed strongly in multiple genres and delivers a perfect balance between seriousness and classiness which is what defines any likeable action star.
This film manages to evoke laughs and smiles at the most unpredictable yet well placed moments which is testament to the writers but also Odenkirk whose delivery and comedy background make for all the more impact. Odenkirk’s next major role will be in the final season of Better Call Saul next year which I have no doubt will buck the trend its parent show Breaking Bad set with its ending.
This film fulfils all of the expectations of its genre and does so in a tight 91 minute timeframe. The dialogue is snappy, short, and terse at times and the brutality and injuries sum up the dangerous universe of Hutch Mansell. The roles are written and performed with just the right amount of flair and nuance from Odenkirk in particular which make the movie stand out and catch the eye. The various visual effects, stunts and fight choreography were all of the highest order especially the latter which truly made us squirm and want to look away but inspired the opposite due to the tension, acrobatics, and intensity of the scenes (the bus brawl most strikingly).
I really enjoyed this film I feel it was the perfect action movie with the right amount of action, drama, tension, comedy, and complexity. The plot was easy to follow, and the protagonists were loveable and played their role in the story to a tee. Nobody is certainly not a cinematic ‘masterpiece’, but it never needed to be: it serves as a damn good action movie. I watched it with my family in my first cinema trip since last August if you can believe it! And it was a satisfying watch which I recommend you all get a glimpse as soon as possible.