Nobody Review: A refreshing addition to the genre
The combination of Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller’s direction and John Wick writer Derek Kolstad’s script creates a surprising and fun action-packed blast with Nobody.
The film follows a seemingly average suburban dad named Hutch (Bob Odenkirk) who’s looked down upon by his family and really everyone after he lets two burglars go without putting up a fight. All this disappointment and frustration unearths a dormant violence within Hutch that leads him to take out his frustrations on a group of guys harassing a young girl on a bus. Hutch’s actions end up catching the attention of psychotic Russian mob Yulian (Aleksey Serebryakov) though and it puts a big target on his back. Most people would be scared to death to be in the crosshairs of the Russian mafia, Hutch however harnesses deadly skills that make him an unexpected nightmare for those that try to disturb his quiet suburban life – something that Yulian finds out the hard way.
Nobody establishes Hutch’s drab suburban life incredibly well in its opening minutes through his incredibly relatable and mundane daily routine. The sound and film editing gives it this pace that instantly hooks you and makes you feel the depressing state that Hutch is in. Odenkirk’s performance and the fallout of him not acting against the burglars make it easy to feel this pain that he has in his restraint. Not only is he forced to listen to the beratement of other men who try to intimidate him through their toxic, hyper masculinity, but it feels like a part of him is just aching to act.
There is a really great monologue that Odenkirk totally nails about how he feels like he was never able to escape the violence and blood of his past to attempt to live a normal life. It’s a moment that makes Hutch’s story more than just an exercise in violence and gives greater depth to his character. It’s a strong moment and the film is definitely trying to tell more than just a generic action story. It’s also great that Hutch isn’t just a blood lusting killing machine and genuinely has a heart and thinks about his actions making him incredibly likeable. However, it doesn’t try to elevate its material enough and outside of a few story beats, it’s tough to say that Kolstad’s story is all that memorable.
As a whole, the action and Odenkirk’s fun performance far outweigh the story. Nobody is a surprising action vehicle for Odenkirk as he brings fun energy that builds throughout each fight and as Hutch gets back into his old ways. He works incredibly well with Kolstad’s dialogue and there even some surprisingly fun performances from some of the supporting cast. Serebryakov makes Yulian an incredibly fun and wild antagonist and there’re even some fun performances from RZA and Christopher Lloyd that are especially pleasing in the film’s the final act.
As for the action, it’s pretty much the blood-fueled, eye-dazzling action that fans would expect from Kolstad and Naishuller coming together. It’s pretty great that Hutch isn’t this unstoppable force and gets his ass kicked plenty throughout the film. It makes every fight that he has genuinely riveting to watch since you aren’t sure how he’s going to come out of it or how bloodied up he’s going to be. Naishuller makes the smart choice to build up the level of action and the craziness of the fighting alongside Hutch’s dormant violence coming out. So, when things initially kick off, it’s at an awesome, but pretty standard action level. By the end though, you’re constantly picking your jaw off the floor with the gory, blood-soaked action that is the finale of Nobody. It’s super ambitious, wild as all hell, and constantly wows you with how it uses little details planted throughout incredibly well to have great callbacks.
While it might not be as pivotal or impactful as John Wick or Hardcore Henry, Nobody is still a rad addition to the action genre with Odenkirk’s great performance and unbelievably amazing action. If Nobody proves anything, it’s that Naishuller and Kolstad are two refreshing forces for the action genre.