By @HolocronGeorge for @FilmCodex
In recent years, there has been an influx of grounded action movies starring a middle aged star in which the lead character systematically fights and takes down seemingly everyone around him. There is no greater example of this than the John Wick franchise, as Keanu Reeves seeks revenge, and to protect himself, as he encounters hundreds of enemies (and counting). This weekend, a film shares many parallels with John Wick was released, titled Nobody. With the unlikely Bob Odenkirk in the lead role, Ilya Naishuller directing and Derek Kolstad, a writer on the John Wick films, penning the script, Nobody proves to be an entertaining and surprising film that is most certainly worth the watch.
Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, a husband and father who is shaken by a burglary at his house. Mansell feels as if he let his family down after he failed to protect them during this robbery, and this sense of shame is only added to by the judgement coming from neighbors, police, and even his wife and son. Odenkirk’s character eventually puts this feeling to good use as he attempts to make amends for his earlier mistake, seizing the second chance to protect his family. Out for revenge, Mansell channels an inner anger that he had seemingly kept in for years in order to take down a group of Russian adversaries that did him and his family wrong.
Odenkirk is front and center of this movie, perhaps unexpectedly given his prior roles. Best known for comedy, Odenkirk only really ventured into more serious dramas with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, his most famous role as Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill. Still, even in those shows, Odenkirk proves to be the source of comedic relief at times, and rarely (if ever) gets into an action style situation as he does in Nobody. This isn’t to slight Odenkirk, as his performance as Saul is one of the best on TV this century. In Nobody, Odenkirk’s performance is unexpected and makes the movie, as he channels his inner action hero just as his character does an internal anger and violence that he lets out on enemies. Odenkirk is the reason why most audiences will go to see this movie, and for good reason.
The directing of the action in this film is also solid. Ilya Naishuller, who previously helmed the first person action flick Hardcore Henry, handles the action well in this film. Given how action heavy this film it is, these sequences are make or break in terms of determining if this movie actually works, and Naishuller is up to the task. The supporting cast of Nobody also hand in good performances, particularly Christopher Lloyd and Aleksey Serebyrakov.
Nobody does prove to feel a little unoriginal at times, particularly with its clear parallels to John Wick and other action centric films of the past decade. Given the premise, this was seemingly inevitable, yet it still feels as if more could be done to set it apart from that film. Despite that, Nobody does do a good enough job to stand on its own, with the tone, largely set by Odenkirk, proving to be the difference between this and the Taken films, for example. Nobody doesn’t take itself too seriously, a refreshing aspect of this movie that makes it a lot more enjoyable for the audience.
Verdict: With a stellar performance from Bob Odenkirk, Nobody proves to be a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable watch, and, despite feeling a little too similar to other films at times, sets itself apart through its tone and lead actor.
Nobody is now playing exclusively in theaters.
Images courtesy of Universal and AMC.