Synopsis: Hutch Mansell, a suburban dad, overlooked husband, nothing neighbor — a “nobody.” When two thieves break into his home one night, Hutch’s unknown long-simmering rage is ignited and propels him on a brutal path that will uncover dark secrets he fought to leave behind.
Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksey Serebryakov, Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, RZA, Billy MacLellan, Araya Mengesha, Gage Munroe
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Running Length: 92 minutes
TMMM Score: (6.5/10)
Review: It’s coming. The time for theaters to re-open and welcome movie-goers back in larger numbers is getting close and even now you can see there are more films premiering only in cinemas and not available via streaming or On Demand. On the one hand, I get it. Studios want to stay in the good graces of theater chains while also preserving the overall experience for their audiences. On the other, even though the country continues to be vaccinated at a good rate there is still a long way to go before people (including myself) would feel comfortable sitting for an extended period in an enclosed space with others we aren’t acquainted with. Until then, I’ll feel lucky that I can see a theatrical-only release like Nobody (from Universal Pictures) in the comfort of my own home so I’m able to let you know if it’s worth the risk to venture out to your local multiplex.
Though I’m still always going to advocate that you avoid unnecessary social interaction outside of your own home and hold out until a movie you want to see is available to rent or buy via streaming, I suppose if you were looking for a comfort-food casserole sort of action movie to sate your thirst for mindless fun, Nobody would be a full flavor meal to dine out on. It has a bruised-knee charm that makes it a decent watch and a leading performance from an unexpected star which keeps it always surprising and surpassing your expectations. It’s pulpy and loud but isn’t insignificant in the way it wins you over on sheer chutzpah. Plain and simple — it’s worth putting some real pants on for.
The most notable thing about middle-aged Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk, Nebraska) is that he keeps to his routine. His suburban life with his pretty wife (Connie Nielsen, Wonder Woman 1984, Sea Fever) and two children isn’t boring, it’s just standard. He’s not complaining he’s just…settled. Working a number pushing job at a factory seems to get him through the day and although he aspires to one day own the factory, his mild-mannered attitude might be drowned out by a more emphatic employee who the boss (Michael Ironside, Scanners) takes more notice of. It’s a beige life for a beige guy. At least that’s what it looks like on the surface. A late-night home break-in is the catalyst that begins to pull back the curtain on Hutch’s life before the wife, kids, and 9-5 job entered the picture. It awakens a side of him that few have seen…and lived to talk about.
Over the next several days, Hutch will run afoul of a karaoke-singing Russian crime boss (Aleksey Serebryakov, in a performance of golden gusto) who quickly sets his sights on eliminating this unexpected thorn in his side. They’ll also be car chases, knockdown brawls leading to broken bones and worse, and a booby-trapped finale that will remind you of a certain Christmas classic. It’s all eager to please and screenwriter Derek Kolstad (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) doesn’t miss an opportunity to find a clever way to clean house. It’s also up to director Ilya Naishuller to not let us get too far ahead in Kolstad’s script – though Hutch’s shadowy past might seem obvious at first, the full truth is more fun.
Even though it’s ultimately just a less flashy version of the John Wick films (no shocker, Kolstad wrote all three) set to a soundtrack filled with so many on the nose up-tempo tunes I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a wedding DJ watching that uses it exclusively at their next gig, Nobody whizzes through 92 minutes without pausing much to let us catch our breath or think through how silly it all is. A lot of that has to do with Naishuller’s breakneck pace and caffeine-hyped editing but don’t forget to give Odenkirk much of the credit for making Hutch such a standout character. Sure, he’s playing a seemingly dull guy that’s just harboring a lot of well-kept talents, but there’s more to him than his bag of tricks. I’ve yet to truly take much notice of the actor until now but he’s an astonishingly credible action star, an everyman that takes a licking and keeps on ticking, absorbing the blows but finding creative ways to dole out punishment as revenge. It’s all Odenkirk’s film so even strong supporting work from Nielsen (sadly underused considering the butt kicking we’ve seen her do recently in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and more) and a neat appearance from Back to the Future‘s Christopher Lloyd as Hutch’s irascible father.
With its short length, Nobody would be a good option if you are thinking of dipping your toe back into the theater-going experience because it’s a breeze to sit through. If anything, make time for it when you do see it pop into your at home options in several weeks because this side of Odenkirk was exciting to see. With his popularity at a peak nowadays with TV’s Better Call Saul continuing to earn him strong notices, Nobody is something to behold indeed.