Total Blast of a Thriller
Move over John Wick, thereís a new badass on the cinematic landscape. And his name is Hutch Mansell. Though a seemingly typical suburban dad living on a cul-de-sac with a beautiful wife and two kids Ė basically a nobody. However, donít take his mild-mannered everyman disposition at face value. You will regret it.
Thatís exactly what happens to a couple of low-rent burglars one night when they break into his house while the family is asleep. Set into motion by the event is a series of missteps, poor decisions, and mistaken identities that ultimately lead to the reawakening of Hutchís dark secrets and long-dormant instincts. Revealed is a past that is anything but of man who is coasting through life.
The stakes begin to ratchet up as Hutch gets closer to tracking down the hoodlums who broke into his house. The trail eventually leads to a Russian crime syndicate and its dangerous leader named Yulian (Russian actor Alexey Serebryakov).
Hutch is played by Bob Odenkirk, of comedy fame and more recently as Saul Goodman from TVís Breaking Bad and its offshoot Better Call Saul. Things on the home front arenít going so well for Hutch. Wife Becca (Connie Nielsen, Wonder Woman) hasnít shown interest in quite some time, teenage son, Blake (Gage Munroe, Brotherhood) is unimpressed by his father, and a mundane job in a tool and die factory are wearing the man down to a nub. He doesnít help himself, however when during the home invasion he refuses to take action against the thugs. Even the police officer on the scene tells Hutch he did the right thing, but that he would have done it differently.
But something inside Hutch is about to change.
Nobodyís premise isnít necessarily new or original. In fact, if it feels familiar, it might be because the filmís screenwriter, Derek Kolstad, was the narrative architect of the John Wick franchise and its producers were responsible for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Deadpool 2, and Atomic Blonde. But Nobody separates itself from those films with its unique style and kinetic verve from Russian director Ilya Naishuller (Hard Core Henry) who makes some very interesting choices with regards to his use of provocative imagery and inclusion of fascinating characters Ė particularly that of Serebryakovís mobster who is a karaoke-loving goofball with a mile-long mean streak.
With all its moving parts and flamboyant characters, this is a very difficult film to pull off effectively, and not handled correctly, could end up a total train wreck. Yes, itís nasty. Yes, itís dirty and super silly with way over the top ridiculous moments, but Naishullerís vision works perfectly for what it is and Nobody is a total blast from beginning to end. It plays out sort of like a Korean thriller driven by flawed characters and dark themes more so than by story points or narrative devices. It is well deserving of its R rating, and its extreme violence may be too much for some to handle. But the film never takes itself too seriously, and neither should you.
Nobody is a mess of a film that really shouldnít work as well as it does. But the excellent cast Ė including a brilliant turn by Odenkirk that puts Keanu Reeves on notice, and a fantastically choreographed fight scene in a city bus between Hutch and a band of no fewer than five semi-armed hooligans is quite impressive and worth the price of admission alone.
Thereís plenty here to love with numerous action set pieces, shocking moments of gore and violence, and even a bit of heart and emotion on a few occasions that elevate the film above your standard revenge thriller fare. Though it was late on the scene due to Covid delays, the stage is set for the next action thriller franchise. Count me in.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rate ďRĒ for strong violence and bloody images, language throughout and brief drug use.)
Review also posted at www.franksreelreviews.com.)