We can see Bob Odenkirk in whatever. Ever since we ran into him as the crafty and immodest lawyer Saul Goodman in the legendary series Breaking Bad (2009-2013) we bought him anything. From there came the opportunity for Saul Goodman to have his own series, Better Call Saul. Now Odenkirk joins the action thriller Nobody (2021) by director Ilya Naishuller. This Russian-born filmmaker came to the public attention with the fast-paced action short film, told in the first person, that he made for the song Bad Motherfucker by the Russian rock group Biting Elbows. He then repeated the formula in his first feature film Hardcore Henry (2015).
Nobody follows the same line of Naishuller’s previous work. In its structure, the film reminds us of the action proposals of the 90’s cinema. The form is imposed and what the discourse tells us matters very little. The idea is to show that Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) as a parody of the classic action hero on a canvas adorned with violence, a lot of violence. Mansel is the typical guy who is a nobody, but we can feel that he has a very dark past that haunts him and that he can explode at any moment. The reluctance that comes with the days that redound opens the curtain for the script to establish the motivations of the central character.
Your average Joe
On one of those duplicate days the routine breaks down. Some thieves enter his house, and this triggers a series of events that led him to come face to face with a powerful Russian mobster. Conveniently the director drags us to the field of the show, to the place where the action commands each sequence and the viewer has little margin to review the history that supports the events. Veteran Pawel Pogorzelski’s (Hereditary, Midsommar) camera moves nimbly between shattered jaws, pierced heads, and fallen bodies. The good combination between the visual rhythm proposed by the cinematography and the chords of the composition of David Buckley (Jason Bourne, The Town) makes Nobody appear fluid and dynamic.
The trend is always towards macabre humor and the accent on parody. The chases and perfectly choreographed shootings make the Hutch of Odenkirk some sort of John Wick, except for the latter’s canine motivations. Hutch detonates thanks to a delicate bracelet with the figure of a feline (to further accentuate the parody) and this leads him to the most ridiculous situations of danger. The director looks in total mastery of the staging without betraying his style or pretending to go beyond pure and simple entertainment.
Nobody does not propose anything new, nor does he look for innovative ways to tell the story, he adjusts to take us from point A to point B with a great charge of adrenaline and supported by the charisma of his central character. We envision it as a movie that would have performed very well in theaters in pre-pandemic times.