Directed by Ilya Naishuller.
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksei Serebryakov, RZA, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, Christopher Lloyd.
Bob Odenkirk steps out of his funny regular guy persona and becomes a solid action hero in Nobody, the story of Hutch Mansell, a seemingly average suburban dad who gets into a fight with the wrong people and attracts the anger of a drug lord. Hutch is not who he seems, however. The film arrives on 4K Ultra HD with a Blu-ray platter and a digital code included.
Nobody begins as the kind of story we’ve seen before: Hutch Mansell is just another guy living in the suburbs with his family. He keeps missing the trash truck. His wife sometimes doesn’t leave him enough morning coffee. And he works an office job at a metal fabrication company, where he deals with spreadsheets all day.
One night, he’s awakened by two intruders. One of them punches his son and he has a chance to hit the other with a golf club, but he holds back and lets the robbers leave with whatever cash they’ve managed to grab. He sees himself as a failure in the eyes of his family, and he even gets pushed around at work by the owner’s son.
When he realizes that the robbers swiped his daughter’s favorite kitty cat bracelet, something seems to snap in him. He tracks the thieves to their apartment and points a gun at them, demanding the bracelet, but he leaves when their baby starts crying. At this point, Hutch just seems like the kind of guy we’ve seen before: an overworked, stressed-out suburban dad who has been pushed to his breaking point.
On his way home on the bus, though, he intervenes when a gang of drunk guys start hassling a young woman, and the way he takes them down makes the viewer think either screenwriter Derek Kolstad went for a weird deus ex machina this early in the story, or something else is going on. It turns out to be the latter, of course. When one of the drunks dies at the hospital and turns out to be the brother of a Russian gangster, we begin to learn that Hutch is a different kind of nobody than we originally thought.
At this point, Nobody pivots and becomes the story of a former military “auditor” who didn’t conduct the kind of audits we originally thought he performed. His father David (Christopher Lloyd), a retired FBI agent who’s bored of the nursing home life, and his half-brother Harry (RZA), who talks to Hutch via a radio hidden in his office, come along for the ride as the three take on the Russian gang to end the threat to Hutch’s family.
I’ll admit the movie’s twist bothered me at first. As a fellow put-upon suburban dad, I wanted to identify with Hutch. I wanted to feel the catharsis of a mild-mannered guy pushed to his limits and fighting back at the injustice of a home invasion. I mean, if someone swiped my daughter’s kitty cat bracelet, I’d lose it and –
But no movie has to be what I want it to be, and Nobody does a nice job of pulling off a plot switcheroo that reveals Hutch to be a guy who wanted a simple suburban family life, only to be pulled back into his former profession. Sure, there are some logic lapses in the story (for example: Why didn’t the driver get the cops there ASAP, while a protracted fight happened on her bus?), and the violent action during the climax reaches cartoon-like levels, especially in the way Hutch disposes of the main bad guy, but it’s still a fun ride. Screenwriter Kolstad is also responsible for the John Wick movies, so if that kind of action is your thing, you’ll find tons of it here.
I’ll add one last note on this film: I was interested in it because Bob Odenkirk seemed like the kind of guy who could pull of the transformation from goofy comedy dude to hard-edged touch guy, much like Brian Cranston in Breaking Bad. Odenkirk easily fulfilled my expectations and has set himself up as an actor who doesn’t have to only be known for sketch comedy and Saul Goodman. Supposedly a sequel to Nobody is in the works, so it will be interesting to see where Odenkirk takes his career from here.
There isn’t a ton of bonus content to be found here, but there are two commentary tracks, one in which director Ilya Naishuller chats with Odenkirk and one where the director flies solo. The second track is the better one, since it allows Naishuller to dig deep into his influences, the film’s themes, and other interesting topics. The first one has a bit too many comments of the “Oh this is the scene where” variety and Odenkirk goofing around. The pair do relate some good anecdotes from the making of the film, though.
There are also about five minutes of deleted scenes that are mostly inconsequential, as well as around 35 minutes of featurette material that cover Odenkirk’s training regimen for the role, an examination of the action scenes, and a cursory making-of.
The film and the bonus features can also be found on an included Blu-ray, and Universal tossed in a code for a digital copy too.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★