Directed by Ilya Naishuller.
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksey Serebryakov, RZA and Christopher Lloyd.
Hutch (Bob Odenkirk) works a desk job, is settled into domestic life and never puts the rubbish out. After a domestic disturbance leaves him emasculated, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
Bob Odenkirk is a solid character actor renowned for playing one role. That this has gradually turned him into a household name, has also inadvertently defined him in public minds. Low rent attorney at law Saul Goodman became as integral to Breaking Bad as Walter White or Jesse Pinkman. This low rent huckster knew every angle, hustled every instinct and gifted Bob Odenkirk a subtle character study that was proving hard to shake.
What Nobody does is bury Saul Goodman in a shallow grave under an overpass. After twenty minutes banishment is complete, as Hutch Mansell emerges from the ashes part everyman and action star in waiting. Director Ilya Naishuller cuts to the chase in this embryonic opening, mapping out routine, establishing persona and impressing on audiences Hutch’s numerous inadequacies.
Days are timestamped, character flaws are exemplified and the mundane drudge of a loveless marriage are made apparent. In the initial set up Connie Nielsen and Bob Odenkirk downplay any intimacy, while visual cues underline their emotional disparity. However, as this comes from the same stable as John Wick, there is an anticipation to this opening that comes with expectations. Expectations that include body counts, pithy one liners and domestic carnage.
Thankfully audiences are well rewarded with a contrived but satisfying resurrection, that happens on a bus after a bad day. As brutality unravels up close and includes a severed handrail, Nobody kicks into gear. What Bob Odenkirk does so well is sell the action, convince the audience and take his punishment. Choreography is intentionally messy; action sequences are cleverly subverted and everyone has some serious fun.
Aleksey Serebryakov breathes life into a flamboyant Serbian gangster and Christopher Lloyd brandishes a shotgun. There are comedic beats amongst the debris and even a little sequel set up which feels earned. Coming in at bang on ninety minutes as well, means nobody out stays their welcome. Like a suburban sleeper cell or Jason Bourne throwback, Hutch crosses over the line between family man and assassin at several points whilst keeping audiences on side.
In many ways the affability of its star plays into that, just as Keanu Reeves managed a similar trick with his erstwhile hitman in retirement. Although the pivotal plot point which ignites that metaphorical fire under Hutch is slight, Bob Odenkirk fully commits taking audiences with him. Nobody might be packed to the gunnels with genre tropes, action cliches and emotional triggers but it works.
Unapologetic, intentionally disruptive and grounded by a persuasive performance, Nobody demonstrates that Liam Neeson is no longer cornering the market when it comes to action star reinvention.
Nobody is in UK cinemas from June 9th.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★