Nobody in their right mind would have expected this film to turn out the way it did, especially myself.
Ha, see what I did there? Nobody, as in the name of the film. Ha, I’m funny.
But sincerely, who thought that an action flick starring Bob Odenkirk would be any good but here we are.
Nobody is a 2021 film starring Bob Odenkirk as Hutch Mansell, a unfulfilled family man who spends his life repeating the same days over and over, but when a pair of unsuspecting burglars break into his house they unleash this hidden skills and dark past.
We meet Hutch living a mundane life; missing the garbage, weirdly doing pull-ups at a bus stop, and drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee. He relationship with his wife is strained, being forced to sleep on opposite sides of pillows in their bed (like a wall). He works for his father-in-law at their family owned business, feeling trapped in an endless cycle of worthlessness, until that fateful burglary.
From here the film introduces spectacular action, which is suspected when David Leitch (director of John Wick and it’s sequels) serves as a producer.
Bob Odenkirk carries himself wonderfully as a hardened tough guy who can take and give a beating. Unlike a lot of other films in the genre, Hutch gets his ass handed to him, multiple times. In doing so you build an atmosphere of suspense. Will he survive?
This is a question that in and of itself is vital to these types of films. In order for the audience to be engaged in the gory and brutal violence we need something that grounds us back to reality, in this case it’s Hutch. As the underdog in the real world, Hutch gains our sympathy from having a struggling marriage and a dead end job. Like I said before, his clear lack of fulfillment is displayed wonderfully by Odenkirk and adds, albeit, few layers to what could be a rather one dimensional character.
Odenkirk also expertly personifies addiction. Whether intentional or not, a key theme to the film is that of addiction and relapse. Throughout the film we see Hutch desperately try to live a normal life, but when trouble comes knocking he hesitates. The freedom to live that rush is right in front of him, except, he denies it permission to consume him. Until, later on it does, and like all addictions, they come at a cost. When Hutch attacks those guys on the bus (this was in the trailers, so it’s not a spoiler) we see him embrace that dormant part of his self, he relapses. By taking that first swing, the thrill of the uncertainty of the fight engulfs him. A little later in the film his half-brother, Harry (Robert Fitzgerald Briggs), mentions that it must have felt good to relapse.
While the film may deal with the idea of addiction (the main villain is even a drug lord), it doesn’t exactly show a resolution to it; which I cannot fault the film for because there is a high chance I’m reading into it.
Another thing Nobody does well is it’s humor. The film sprinkles in little drops of black comedy throughout which Odenkirk and co deliver masterfully, especially Christopher Lloyd who plays David, Hutch’s father. Even after all these years, Lloyd is able to give genius comedic timing by something as simple as raising an eyebrow. And just you wait, the third act gives Lloyd a real moment to shine.
Nobody (am I talking about the film, or the cast and crew?) isn’t going to win any major awards, after all, it is just a simple action thriller. But where it lacks in innovation it makes up for with nuance, excitement, swift pacing, and a great performance by Odenkirk.
Nobody is directed by Ilya Naishuller, written by Derek Kolstad, and stars Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nelson, Robert Fitzgerald Briggs, Aleksei Serebryakov, and Christopher Lloyd.