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Critics Review
Nobody movie review: Bob Odenkirk’s film is outlandish, nasty and morbidly funny

Nobody is an unabashed wish-fulfilment for murder, mayhem and other assorted viciousness.

3.5
Pratishruti Ganguly
Nov 10, 2021
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Story: A middle-aged man leads a humdrum suburban life until one day, a robbery in his own house tips him over. Once a hired assassin, the man takes to guns and blades to avenge every wrongdoer he can lay his hand on.

There’s no denying that the idea of Bob Odenkirk beating assailants, twice his size and half his age, to pulp inside a moving bus, is compelling. Best known for his turn as a crooked lawyer in Better Call Saul, Oderkirk transforms into a blood-thirsty, self-styled vigilante (ala John Wick) in Nobody. The similarity isn’t accidental, though. Nobody is penned by the creator of the John Wick franchise, Derek Kolstad. Further, David Leitch, the co-director of the first John Wick movie, serves as a producer on this film.

Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a remarkably ordinary middle-aged man working under his father-in-law at his company, who buckles at the thought of confronting invaders breaking into his home. His life is a series of mundane activities stacked against one another, as he sleepwalks through his life in cold subjugation. The drudgery of his routined existence is established through a slickly edited montage sequence. His family, wife (Connie Nielsen) and teenage son (Gage Munroe), almost pity his sorry existence until something fundamentally shifts inside him one night, when robbers break into his safe haven and apparently steal his young daughter’s bracelet.

His inability to retaliate against the robbers renders him, in the eyes of everyone around him — his family, the police and his neighbour — a wuss. The incident unlocks the rage and the bloodlust simmering inside of him, that Hutch had effectively reigned within him for years after leaving behind a life of abject violence. Turns out, Hutch used to be an ‘auditor,’ an executioner hired by government agents, whose identity was completely omitted after he chose to leave behind the life of assassination.

That night, Hutch boards a bus where a group of Russian thugs, inebriated and a potential threat to another female passenger, finally unleashes his years suppressed homicidal instincts. What follows is a grand, choreographed combat sequence complete with knives, objects turned into makeshift weapons and a disproportionate amount of glass shattering. In this universe, violence is gratuitous and abundant. When Hutch sputters out of the window of the bus, he rises up from a pile of glass shards and chases the bus to continue the fight. The scene embodies Hutch’s complete transformation into a ‘killmonger.’

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Nobody is an unabashed wish-fulfilment fantasy for murder, mayhem and other assorted viciousness with guns and blades aplenty. There is no moral reckoning in Hutch after learning that the missing bracelet wasn’t stolen by the robbers. In an interview with Ind iewire, director Naishuller spoke about the “excesses” of violence in Nobody. “As the film goes on and Hutch becomes happier, we go to this super-colourful comic book style, where at the end of the movie, the action is supposed to be ridiculous.” It’s a bizarre world, and Hutch is its unlikely anti-hero. Thus, director Ilya Naishuller (the director of Hardcore Henry) whizzes past the exposition to reach the starting point of his deliciously high-octane, adrenaline pumping action extravaganza. As a result, Nobody is saturated with hyper-stylised action sequences shot in slow-motion.

Understandably, the film’s selling point is Odenkirk; his casting was a genius move. The actor is a revelation as an action star, and he snugly fits into the “dad hero” bill, somewhat akin to a Liam Neeson in Taken, or Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Odenkirk is thoroughly enjoying every bit of this physically demanding role. The stunts and the fight sequences look authentic enough, and the actor juggles the two personalities of Hutch with conviction. It’s a definitive one-man show, and Odenkirk adeptly carries the film forward.

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Verdict: Nobody is nasty, outlandish and morbidly funny. Its insolence may be discomfiting at times, but with a short runtime of 92 minutes, and a brilliant Odenkirk buoying the movie, Nobody makes for a compelling watch.


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