Director: Ilya Naishuller
Perfect World Pictures / 87North Productions / Universal Pictures
Nobody is everything great about Big Dumb Fucking Brutal Action Films wrapped up like a magic trick. And that magic trick is the casting of Bob Odenkirk. Bob is the saftest of safe hands and can seemingly do anything. He writes books and great comedy skits, he has turned from anarchic skit-work and one man shows to some fine dramatic acting in the last decade. He directs. Continues to write. And is in a bunch of films and TV shows with brilliant cameos as well as the shows where he’s a main player – his currency soared with Saul first via Breaking Bad, saving that wreck somewhat, and then the prequel spinoff, Better Call Saul.
But none of that prepared any of us – and I’ve been a fan for years – for Bob Odenkirk: Action Star.
And yet it works. It works so well, so convincingly, that I intend on turning off my brain once a month or so to watch and re-watch Nobody until such time as I hear that Bob is back with a brand new action flick.
And, yes, sure, it’s bloody and brutal and over the top – but there are some bad sides to all this too. Some critics have even gone in hard on the just what American needs now, more guns finger-waggling telling off. As soon as I watched the film I wrote about it without reviewing it because I felt a twinge of privilege for being completely non-triggered by all this violence. In no way, shape or form did it make me want to torch a building, blow up a school, shoot an old co-worker or stalk an ex and destroy them. My apparently solid wiring experienced no tremors or trembles in the watching of this film. Instead I laughed and sat on the edge of my seat and waited for the deadpan-delivery of hack-zingers (another great skill of Odenkirk’s) and just basically forgot about the real world for around 85 minutes.
I love confronting reality in a range of motion pictures – but just as often I love the complete and total escape. And Nobody gave that to me – like the ultimate visceral hit. I have no desire to spoil the plot of this at all – even though it’s been out long enough that many reviews and all spoilers are readily available.
But I just want to say that if you’ve ever enjoyed an action flick of any kind you will want to see this. It’s so clearly been built from the parts of several – much as been made of its John Wick-writer, and you could see this as a film of similar motives, with a similar style of motivation as central driver perhaps, but Nobody is funnier, more self-aware and also features these key set-pieces (an OTT fight scene that is equal parts They Live and martial arts revenge flick, car chases, Commando-style shoot-ups) that make this a meta fun-ride for fans of 80s movies. But it’s never quite as cloying as your cliched 80s-tinged nostalgia fest.
So go see Nobody. Take nobody with you. Enjoy it alone. And remember violence is never excusable – unless of course it’s happening in a fake movie world on a screen for your total, unabashed enjoyment.