Movie Review: ‘Nobody’

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, RZA, Christopher Lloyd, Aleksei Serebryakov

Plot: Hutch Mansell is a normal family man on the outside, and also a ticking timebomb of mayhem and violence just itching to be let loose. When his house is burgled, Hutch leans into the opportunity to indulge himself.

Review: Given the way the marketing has leaned into the similarities they might have well said this was starring Bob Oden-Wick. This may have been a misstep, as drawing a comparison to such a unique, style-driven and artistically design franchise like John Wick when you film has so many story similarities isn’t going to put you in a good light even when your movie is good. Nobody is good. It’s a solid, well paced action revenge movie. But it’s no John Wick, and nor should it aspire to be.

We meet Hutch (Odenkirk) at the end of the story, beaten and bloody and in a police interrogation room along with a kitten, while the police ask the most obvious question. Who is this man? Jumping back a week we get to know Hutch’s routine of public transport, spreadsheets and an unsatisfying family life. A random home invasion suggests that Hutch is more than capable of fighting back, and has to fight his instincts to prevent this. When he discovers that his daughter kitty-cat bracelet is missing, this is the very excuse he needs to unleash his suppressed madness. When he finds out his burglars were acting out of desperation, Hutch cuts loose on a gang of hoodlums he crosses paths with.

It’s only after Hutch hospitalises these nasty folk that he learns one is the brother of a powerful and psychotic Serbian gang leader called Yulian (Serebryakov). Yulian is looking to get revenge and wreck a bit of havoc himself, but find Hutch is more than a little eager to push back twice as hard.

The violent attack on Yulian’s kingdom is brutal and dirty (in contrast with another similar movie’s slick aesthetic), with Hutch making use of whatever on on hand instead of an arsenal of modern weapons. The first big action scene occurs on a bus, and there’s some highly creative choreography utilising the setting in fun ways. We see the space around them being destroyed and re-used as weapons, and we always know what is where. Assembling a complex sequence like this and having it flow this effectively takes a bit of skill, and director Naishuller clearly knows that he’s doing in this field.

Outside of the action, however, they seem to be having trouble keeping an eye on all their spinning plates and some plot threads disappear while others arrive for the climax without being effectively set up beforehand. The character played by RZA only appears as a voice on a radio before turning up for a staring role in the third act. On the flip side, there’s a focus on Hutch’s son not respecting him, only for the son to disappear from the movie entirely after finding out his father can take a Russian hit-squad to pieces with whatever’s at hand. We expected a bit of resolution on that.

Some of the forced ‘quirkiness’, like the kitten and stealing a painting, fall flat. They’re so badly integrated into the film that it takes you out of the situation. Contrary to this, there’s a small role for Christopher Lloyd who seems to be having a grand time.

It’s a fine, if cliched, action movie with some good stunt and practical effects work, which is nice. It cribs a lot of different styles, but doesn’t have a unique style of it’s own. It’s fine.

Rating: SIX out of TEN